Last week Baykeeper and California Waste Solutions, Inc. (CWS) reached an agreement to reduce storm water pollution from the company’s recycling facility in San Jose. CWS picks up curbside recycling in San Jose and Oakland and has several facilities in the Bay Area where materials are collected, sorted and shipped out to be processed and reused. The San Jose facility is located only a block away from Coyote Creek, which drains to San Francisco Bay.
According to monitoring results from the last five years, storm water from the CWS San Jose facility contained high levels of heavy metals such as aluminum, copper, iron, lead and zinc. Baykeeper staff visited the facility to investigate where pollutants were coming into contact with storm water, and worked with the company to determine the best upgrades to reduce pollution.
“Baykeeper is pleased to be working collaboratively with California Waste Solutions to limit pollution from this facility,” reports Baykeeper Program Director Jason Flanders. “These changes are going to help improve the overall health of San Francisco Bay.”
“Cal Waste Solutions is committed to doing our part to help protect Coyote Creek and the Bay,” said Kristina Duong, CWS Vice President. “We look forward to partnering with Baykeeper to significantly reduce pollution from our facility.”
Under the agreement, CWS will expand its ongoing storm water protection activities by adding additional filtration devices around storm drains; keeping storm drains free of debris; and using a mechanical sweeper on paved areas.
Baykeeper will continue to monitor storm water sampling results from CWS’s facility over the next three years to ensure that the upgrades are adequately reducing pollution. If the initial improvements are not sufficient to reduce pollution, the agreement specifies further upgrades, such as additional roof covering and a storm water filtration system.
To offset environmental harm from CWS’s past pollution, the company has also agreed to provide funding to the Stevens and Permanente Creek Watershed Council, a citizens group that monitors water quality, helps restore streams, and educates the public. “CWS is proud to support the work of the Stevens and Permanente Creek Watershed Council to improve the health of our regional watershed,” Ms. Duong said. The Council intends to expand coverage to nearby Coyote Creek in the future.