Cities Under Pressure to Curb Sewage Deluge

SF Examiner

A watchdog group’s legal campaign to reduce overflows from public sewer systems is forcing San Mateo County agencies to make millions of dollars in upgrades that are pushing sewer rates higher. San Francisco Baykeeper filed eight lawsuits against county agencies during the past two years for allowing discharges of untreated sewage.


Help Keep the Bay Clean this Holiday Season

Proper Disposal and Recycling of Cooking Oil Reduces Sewage Spills to the Bay
Deb Self, San Francisco Baykeeper, 415-856-0444 x108, cell: 510-882-1882

The holiday season is quickly approaching, and along with it, winter rains.  Many people don’t realize that this combination can lead directly to sewage spills in San Francisco Bay.

Cooking rich holiday meals creates fat, oil and grease that get washed down the drain during the cleanup of dishes, pots, pans and fryers.  Over time, cooking oil and grease solidify into thick layers and build up on the inside of sewer lines and drainpipes, causing clogs.  These clogs can cause sewage to back up into backyards, driveways and neighborhood streets.


2010 California Legislative Spotlight: Water Quality

Deb Self, Baykeeper and Executive Director
From the November 2010 edition of Bay Crossings

Of the 1024 bills that reached the Governor’s desk this year, 726 were signed into law.  Only a handful of these new laws are related to the environment, and except for one of these, all are procedural – that is, they set up new bureaucratic procedures, place caps on fines, require new vision statements, or slightly revise existing guidelines.  Only one bill, SB 346 (Kehoe, D-San Diego), directly addresses a water quality pollutant and authorizes new steps to reduce the source of contamination.  SB 346 restricts automakers from using copper in brake pads.  Brake pad copper h


Sharks of San Francisco Bay

Deb Self, Executive Director with the assistance of David McGuire, Director of Sea Stewards and Filmmaker: City of the Shark
From the October 2010 edition of Bay Crossings

As Halloween draws closer and our thoughts turn to costumes and candy, this festive fall holiday also inspires us to dust the cobwebs off our spookiest stories. Being a water-oriented organization – and writing for a commuter-ferry audience – it was hard to resist a topic centered around the scariest aquatic thriller of all time: the 1975 the box-office thriller Jaws, which catapulted sharks, the Great White specifically, to horror movie stardom.

Crossword Puzzle Challenge

Deb Self, Executive Director
From the September 2010 edition of Bay Crossings

The San Francisco Bay is remarkably complex. As we take in the scenery along the Bay Trail, ride the ferry to work, and even when we wade into the water for a swim, it’s hard to comprehend the numerous processes at work to sustain the Bay ecosystem. The Bay’s biological communities depend on freshwater inflow from the Delta, continual tidal flushing, a seasonal coastal upwelling, regular cycles of sediment and nutrients, and stable water chemistry.


Report Pollution

You can reach Baykeeper's pollution hotline at 1-800-KEEP-BAY, email us at, or fill out the form below to submit a confidential pollution tip.

Please include the observed time and date, location and description of the event. If you have photos please provide below.
Photos and other documentation are very helpful when following up on pollution tips. If you have any files you'd like to provide please include images in gif, jpg or png format. You can also provide PDF or .doc (Word) files.
Files must be less than 2 MB.
Allowed file types: gif jpg png pdf doc docx.

Clean Boating on the Bay

Deb Self, Executive Director
From the August 2010 edition of Bay Crossings

Summertime is here and if you’re like me, you’re spending more time on the water with longer, warmer days. As Bay Area residents flock to recreational hotspots along our shorelines, they may be unaware that their boating plans can have an impact on the Bay’s environment. Whether you’re in a motorboat or sailboat your vessel can contribute to water pollution in the Bay, where hundreds of small releases of oil, sewage, and cleaning fluids into the water can cause problems for fish and other marine life.

Baykeeper Settles Major Sewage Spill Lawsuit with Millbrae

Sewage Spills in Millbrae coming to an End
Jason Flanders, Baykeeper Staff Attorney, (o) 415-856-0444 x106, (c) 916-202-3018,

Frequent sewage spills in Millbrae will soon be dramatically reduced through a new agreement between San Francisco Baykeeper and the City of Millbrae. The pollution watchdog group sued the City last December after public records revealed that Millbrae spills thousands of gallons of raw sewage from its sewer lines in violation of the federal Clean Water Act. The claims Baykeeper brought were based solely on reports made by the City to State regulators.


Putting the Toxic Ghost Fleet to Rest

Deb Self, Executive Director and Saul Bloom, Executive Director of Arc Ecology
From the July 2010 edition of Bay Crossings

Due to the efforts of San Francisco Baykeeper, Arc Ecology and Natural Resources Defense Council, the decaying, toxic vessels of the Ghost Fleet will soon haunt the waters of Suisun Bay no longer. In an important victory for the health of San Francisco Bay and for the diverse range of animals that thrives in the unique habitat of Suisun Bay, we have successfully secured an effective cleanup plan for the Ghost Fleet.


Ballot Measure Attempts to Repeal CA's Clean Energy and Clean Air Standards

Amidst the Gulf Oil Disaster, Mayor Gavin Newsom and National Environmental Leaders Challenge Texas Oil Companies' Efforts to Kill California's Clean Energy Efforts
Deb Self, San Francisco Baykeeper, 415-856-0444 x108, cell: 510-882-1882

Mayor Gavin Newsom, Sierra Club Chairman Carl Pope, and leaders from environmental organizations today challenged Texas oil companies for bankrolling a November ballot proposition that will repeal the state’s clean energy and clean air standards.



Subscribe to San Francisco Baykeeper RSS