Baykeeper Update

Syar Napa Quarry Agrees to Protect the Bay from Contaminated Runoff

In the 23rd victory for Baykeeper’s Bay-Safe Industry Campaign, Syar Industries Napa Quarry recently agreed to keep contaminated storm water from running off its facility into Arroyo Creek, which flows to the Napa River, and then to San Francisco Bay. The agreement came in response to Baykeeper’s Clean Water Act lawsuit and will protect the Bay from pollutants that include aluminum, lead, oil, grease, and nitrate.

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 23 industrial facilities that had been allowing significant amounts of toxic substances to run off into the Bay.

At its open-pit quarry in Napa, the largest quarry in the county, Syar Industries mines rock used in construction and paving. The company also manufactures and recycles concrete and asphalt on the site. Operations at the facility include drilling, blasting, mining, and crushing of rock, often outdoors.

For five years, runoff from Syar’s Napa Quarry has contained pollutants above EPA levels of concern. In addition to the facility’s mining activity, the company also allowed scrap metal, trash, debris, and unused equipment to accumulate along Arroyo Creek. When rain falls, it picks up pollutants from the rock processing operations and discarded materials and debris. The contaminated storm water then flows into Arroyo Creek and eventually to the Bay.   

Baykeeper’s legally-binding agreement requires Syar Industries to remove the scrap metal, trash, debris, and unused equipment along Arroyo Creek. The company will also install pollution controls that include filters to treat storm water before it leaves the facility, and devices called check dams to control the flow of contaminated mud and sand off the site.

Syar will test its storm water runoff for pollutants over the next several years. If pollution isn’t reduced, the company will take further measures to protect the creek, river, and San Francisco Bay.

In addition to legal action against Syar and other facilities found to be polluting the Bay, Baykeeper’s Bay-Safe Industry Campaign includes outreach and education to industrial facilities, and advocacy for tighter regulations on industrial storm water.