Baykeeper Update

Oakland Auto Dismantler Agrees to Protect the Bay from Contaminated Runoff

In the 25th victory for Baykeeper’s Bay-Safe Industry Campaign, Cole Brothers Auto Wrecking, an auto dismantling facility in Oakland, recently agreed to implement controls to protect San Francisco Bay from the company’s contaminated runoff. 

Cole Brothers had been allowing rain to come into contact with partly-dismantled vehicles and auto parts stored at the facility. The storm water, which was polluted with heavy metals, washed off the site and into storm drains that empty directly into San Francisco Bay. Baykeeper’s investigation revealed that over the past five years, storm water from Cole Brothers has contained copper, zinc, and lead at levels above EPA recommended limits. When we notified Cole Brothers about these violations, the company was extremely cooperative in working with Baykeeper to determine improvements to reduce the site’s runoff pollution.

Our Bay-Safe Industry Campaign targets the widespread problem of illegal rainy-season runoff that flows into San Francisco Bay from Bay Area industrial facilities. We have now secured legally-binding agreements requiring cleanup by 25 industrial facilities that had been allowing toxic substances to run off into the Bay.

Under the company’s legally-binding agreement with Baykeeper, Cole Brothers will remove all partially-dismantled cars and remove or store under cover old auto parts. The company had already been winding down its auto wrecking operations, and proposed, as part of its agreement with Baykeeper, that it convert the site to a vehicle storage facility. This will dramatically decrease the sources of pollutants. Cole Brothers will also maintain adequate filters where storm water runs off the site, to prevent contamination from reaching pavement or storm drains that drain to the Bay.

Cole Brothers will continue to test for pollutants in its storm water runoff. Baykeeper will monitor for required pollution reductions, and if necessary require new cleanup measures, in order to ensure the company continues to effectively prevent pollution to the Bay.

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