Baykeeper is working to stop Schnitzer Steel, a metal and vehicle recycler on the Oakland Estuary, from allowing airborne dust containing toxic waste to blow into San Francisco Bay.
Schnitzer Steel Oakland processes, shreds, and ships out tens of thousands of tons of scrap metal from automobiles and other sources every year. A recent study of a similar facility found that dust falling onto nearby and downwind areas contained lead, copper, iron, zinc, cadmium, mercury, and arsenic, among many other pollutants.
The Regional Water Quality Control Board recently issued a draft of a cleanup order that will require Schnitzer to better control its airborne metal residue (also called “shredder fluff”). The draft requires the company to prevent residue from blowing onto nearby businesses. However, the Regional Board did not address the issue of residue that blows directly into the Bay from Schnitzer’s property. Baykeeper urged the Regional Board to strengthen the order by requiring Schnitzer to contain all of its airborne dust—not just what blows onto nearby properties.
The Oakland Inner Harbor is seriously impaired by industrial contamination, and Baykeeper will continue to work aggressively to ensure that toxic dust blowing from Schnitzer into San Francisco Bay is stopped.