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San Jose Landfill/Recycler to Clean Up Toxic Bay Pollution
Zanker Road Resource Management, a San Jose landfill and recycling facility, has agreed to clean up its rainy-season runoff pollution of San Francisco Bay and wetlands that include the Don Edwards National Wildlife Refuge.
Baykeeper sued Zanker after the facility’s own sampling reports showed it has been violating EPA limits for aluminum, copper, iron, zinc and other pollutants in its storm water runoff.
The Zanker landfill and recycling facility both process mostly construction waste. Pollution from Zanker is of particular concern because the facilities are next to wetlands that flow into the Bay, including the Don Edwards Wildlife Refuge. The wetlands are home to many species of birds and other wildlife.
Our settlement agreement with Zanker, reached on August 9, commits the company to significantly reduce its pollution and also to provide funds to two local nonprofits working to protect wetlands.
Zanker will now work in partnership with Baykeeper to decrease its pollution. At the recycling facility, Zanker is rerouting its storm water flows into an on-site pond to prevent water from discharging off-site and into wetlands. At the landfill, Zanker is constructing a large filtration system and re-grading its roads to direct storm water into a vegetated area where it can be naturally filtered.
These changes, along with additional housekeeping and sweeping practices, will reduce pollution coming from the facilities. Baykeeper will continue working with Zanker over the next several years to make sure pollutant levels are adequately reduced.
To help mitigate the damage from its past pollution, Zanker will provide funding to the San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory and the Citizens Committee to Complete the Refuge. Both local non-profit organizations work to protect wetlands and wildlife in the South Bay. Baykeeper is pleased that not only is Zanker reducing its contamination of the Bay, but through funding the restoration of wetlands, Zanker can have a beneficial impact on the local environment.
This agreement with Zanker is the latest victory in Baykeeper’s Bay-Safe Industry campaign. We launched the campaign to rein in widespread, illegal runoff into San Francisco Bay from most of the Bay Area’s 1,300 industrial facilities. In addition to legal action against Zanker and other facilities found to be significantly polluting the Bay, the campaign includes outreach and education to industrial polluters and advocacy to strengthen controls on industrial storm water.