San Francisco Baykeeper recently received a call to our pollution hotline from a concerned resident who was biking in Redwood City. She noticed oil on the street next to several garbage collection locations and eventually spotted oil near almost every house's collection site throughout several neighborhoods. She called us, and we immediately contacted Redwood City to track down the source of the problem.
This week Baykeeper advocated for the Regional Water Board to strengthen the cleanup plan for PCBs in the Bay by reining in contaminated discharges from municipal and industrial waste water. The Regional Board’s existing proposal maintains inadequate standards for limiting PCBs, and it's based on insufficient data. If the Bay is to recover from its PCBs impairment, the cleanup plan needs to require improved data collection and better guidelines for reducing pollution from cities and industrial facilities.
Executive Director and Baykeeper Deb Self is participating in an oil spill preparedness training in the Oakland Middle Harbor today.
Last year at this time, I wrote about Baykeeper’s first-time participation in the Audubon Society’s Christmas Bird Count and my experience as a novice birder on the Bay. This December, the Baykeeper boat was out on the Bay once again to assist with the 111th Christmas Bird Count, joining more than 60,000 people nationwide in documenting trends in bird population. We worked with both Marin Audubon and the Golden Gate Audubon Society to count birds spending the winter on the Bay.
The City of San Jose is currently considering how best to use the 2,600-acre site of the San Jose/Santa Clara Water Pollution Control Plant as they sustainably rebuild their wastewater treatment facilities. Possibilities include a state-of-the-art treatment facility that could help reduce Bay pollution as well as returning some of the site to natural wetlands and wildlife habitat.
The Bay Area will experience a King Tide in February-- extreme high tide events that happen twice a year. King Tides this year occur on January 19 and 20 and on February 16,17 & 18.
These high tide events can provide a preview of potential impacts to shoreline areas caused by sea level rise in the Bay. Current projections indicate that sea level could rise as much as 16 inches in the next few decades.
The Bay Area is abuzz with the recent news that San Francisco will host the next America's Cup, a world-class competitive sailing event that will put the spotlight on San Francisco Bay. The America’s Cup Finals will take place in 2013, while the America’s Cup World Series begins this summer and the Challenger Selection Series will be held in 2012. The race series has the potential to bring more than $1 billion to the local economy, create thousands of jobs and upgrade the San Francisco waterfront to accommodate hundreds of large sail boats and millions of spectators.
If you're a resident of San Francisco, check out this special SFPUC program to help you reduce water consumption and storm water pollution to the Bay by installing a rainwater harvesting system. SFPUC is offering discounted rain barrels and cisterns for residents, businesses and schools, and for the month of January, they're throwing in free curbside delivery (no small matter for a 60-gallon rain barrel).
The San Francisco Chronicle reports that 120 Bay Area commercial fishermen will receive $3.6 million in a settlement with the companies that owned and operated the Cosco Busan container ship that spilled 53,000 gallons of oil into San Francisco Bay. The 2007 spill harmed many local fish populations, and the Bay's herring fishery has yet to recover.
As cold and flu season approaches, we’re apt to have a bigger impact on the Bay than usual. We know that our municipal governments provide sewage treatment that is supposed to protect the Bay, and—except in cases of overflows—our treatment technology does a pretty good job on bacteria and pathogens. But treatment plants around the Bay (and the United States for that matter) were not built to address pharmaceuticals and personal care products.