On a Bay pollution patrol aboard the Baykeeper boat last summer, Baykeeper Executive Director Sejal Choksi-Chugh spotted an old shack on a pier off San Francisco’s eastern shoreline, near Potrero Hill. The shack, shown in the photo above, was crumbling into San Francisco Bay.
Baykeeper investigated and learned the building was possibly contaminated with asbestos, a cancer-causing mineral, and metals that could be toxic to wildlife and people. We also discovered that the site, called Building 64, was owned by the Port of San Francisco. After a big storm further immersed the building into the water, we alerted port staff, and urged them to take down the structure. Port staff quickly agreed to have the building demolished and the debris disposed of to keep further contamination out of the Bay.
Port staff placed a boom around the structure to contain debris that might fall into the water. Baykeeper continued to monitor the site on our boat patrols, to follow up and make sure the building was cleaned up and that debris was not contaminating the Bay. When cleanup was delayed, we followed up with Port of San Francisco staff about the reasons and made sure they understood the importance of protecting the Bay from this kind of debris.
Last week, the Port successfully demolished and removed Building 64. It’s a victory for the Bay that the removal was conducted in a way that protected the water and shoreline from contamination. The shack is now completely gone, and the site no longer threatens the Bay.
Baykeeper will continue our boat patrols, and continue taking effective action to stop any threats of contamination we discover on San Francisco Bay.
Photo by Ben Eichenberg