Baykeeper's E-Newsletter for January 21, 2010

Heavy Rains Trigger Sewer System Breakdowns

Heavy storms this week have caused numerous sewage spills and treatment facility overflows that are polluting waterways and closing beaches – and reports are still coming in from across the region.

So far, 235,361 gallons have discharged from 23 sewage system overflows, along with 90 million gallons of partially treated sewage released in the East Bay. See the map of sewage spills and overflows from across the region.

The Bay Area continues to struggle with the impacts of a failing sewage infrastructure as, every winter, rainwater infiltrates dilapidated sewer systems, spiking the volume of flow in sewer pipes and overwhelming treatment plant capacity.

  • sewage_spill_mapCrumbling satellite systems in Alameda, Albany, Berkeley, Emeryville, Oakland and Piedmont led to the release of 90 million gallons of under-treated sewage from East Bay Municipal Utility District facilities.
  • Six spills, totaling 160,200 gallons, occurred in the City of San Mateo.
  • According to the Marin Independent Journal, Monday's Sausalito spill to Richardson Bay totaled about 40,000 gallons of diluted raw sewage.
  • In San Bruno, about 17,000 gallons of sewage was spilled, while Millbrae and Burlingame both experienced small spills yesterday.
  • Ocean Beach, Fort Funston Beach, Crissy Field and Candlestick Point remain closed due to high bacteria counts from sewer discharges.

If you know of a spill that's not shown on this map, please report it to Baykeeper at or 1-800-KEEP-BAY.

As part of our Sick of Sewage campaign, Baykeeper advocates for region-wide upgrades to local sewer systems. We're also going city-by-city to address problem systems, from Millbrae, San Carlos and the West Bay Sanitary District to the seven satellite systems of the East Bay Municipal Utility District. Read more about Baykeeper's work to protect the Bay from sewage spills.

Ghost Fleet Pollution Ruled Illegal

Ghost_Fleet_shipA federal court ruled today in favor of Baykeeper's lawsuit to clean up and remove the Ghost Fleet of Suisun Bay, declaring that the federal agency responsible for the Fleet is illegally storing hazardous waste and polluting the Bay.

Baykeeper – along with Arc Ecology and Natural Resources Defense Council – brought suit in 2007 to stop the release of toxic heavy metals into the Bay and to force the cleanup of these deteriorating vessels.

Now we're pressing the federal agency for a safe cleanup and swift removal of the Ghost Fleet. Read more about our work to clean up the Ghost Fleet of Suisun Bay.

Help Fight Invasive Kelp at Local Docks

Undaria_removalThe invasive kelp Undaria pinnatifida is spreading throughout marinas in San Francisco Bay and threatening the local ecosystem. Baykeeper needs your help to stop the species from taking over the Bay!

We will be training volunteer dock-walkers to identify the kelp in local marinas and collect data that will guide removal efforts. If you are interested in volunteering to help stop the spread of Undaria, please contact Baykeeper Field Coordinator Rosalind Becker at





Take Action Against Polluting Power Plants

power_plantSend an email to speak out against California power plants that use once-through cooling, an outdated technology that kills billions of marine animals each year. San Francisco's Potrero power plant was recently slated for shutdown this year, but two Bay-side plants remain in operation, damaging the Bay's ecosystem and harming local wildlife.

The California State Water Board is currently poised to adopt a policy to phase out the use of once-through cooling. Visit our partner California Coastkeeper Alliance at to send an email to the State Water Board urging them to adopt and implement a policy against once-through cooling.

Read more about Baykeeper's work to phase out the use of once-through cooling at power plants around the Bay.



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Heavy Rains Trigger Sewer System Breakdowns Around the Bay