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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.