McHugh Auto Wrecking in Concord recently agreed to make significant changes to its site in order to keep the auto dismantler’s toxic runoff from polluting San Francisco Bay. Baykeeper brought suit under the Clean Water Act based on McHugh Auto Wrecking’s self-reported sampling of storm water running off its site. The sampling showed that the facility was releasing high levels of pollutants such as copper, lead, zinc, and aluminum into tributaries of nearby Carquinez Strait, which flows into the Bay.
The company dismantles vehicles to resell used parts and crushes what remains. An auto crusher, parts of dismantled vehicles, and scrap metal were stored outdoors, exposing them to rain. When rain fell, it picked up pollutants before washing off the site into storm drains that empty into tributaries of Carquinez Strait.
The facility's owner, John McHugh, has been extremely cooperative in working with Baykeeper to fix the pollution problems. Even before final settlement of Baykeeper’s Clean Water Act lawsuit, he had moved the facility’s auto crusher under a roof. The company’s agreement with Baykeeper also requires that all auto dismantling activities, scrap metal, and equipment will be kept under a roof. Additional pollution controls will include increased sweeping of the site.
McHugh Auto Wrecking will continue to test for pollutants in its storm water runoff. Baykeeper will monitor the test results, and if necessary, require further pollution controls.
In addition, to partly make up for its past pollution, McHugh Auto Wrecking will provide funds to The Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment for projects by other nonprofits that benefit the San Francisco Bay watershed.
This agreement with McHugh Auto Wrecking is the third cleanup agreement in the last year that Baykeeper has secured with Bay Area auto dismantling companies that had been polluting San Francisco Bay. It is also the 26th victory in Baykeeper's Bay-Safe Industry Campaign. The campaign targets the widespread problem of illegal runoff that flows into San Francisco Bay from Bay Area industrial facilities. In addition to legal action against McHugh Auto Wrecking and other facilities found to be significantly polluting the Bay, the campaign includes advocacy to strengthen regulation of industrial storm water.