On January 31, heavy rains and operator error caused an overflow of sewage at a treatment plant in Marin County. More than 2.7 million gallons of partially treated sewage spilled out of the plant and into Corte Madera Creek, which flows into Richardson Bay. This was the second spill to occur in one week; only six days earlier, the same sewage treatment plant discharged another 2.5 million gallons of sewage when it was overwhelmed by heavy rains. Sewage spills carry not only bacteria and disease, but industrial chemicals as well.
Today the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on the case surrounding the Exxon Valdez oil spill. In 1987, the tanker Exxon Valdez spilled tens of millions of gallons of Alaskan crude oil into Prince William Sound. The Court will hear arguments from Exxon about why it should not have to pay the $5 billion liability award imposed by an Anchorage jury in 1994. The High Court’s decision is relevant for oil spill prevention and cleanup in San Francisco Bay.
Environmental groups today challenged the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Board’s flawed regulation of dairy operations in the Central Valley. The Regional Board recently issued permits that do not adequately protect the Valley’s waterways from pollution caused by large dairy operations and do not comply with the federal Clean Water Act.
After over a decade of efforts to stop sewage spills in the Bay Area, today Baykeeper launched its Sick of Sewage Initiative to rein in the Bay’s sewage spill problem. The initiative will involve:
Environmental groups are challenging the US Maritime Administration for its failure to protect the waters of the San Francisco Bay and Delta Estuary from pollution created by a ghost fleet of toxic ships near Benicia. More than fifty decommissioned and deteriorating vessels are anchored in Suisun Bay, leaching toxic paint and heavy metals into the water and sediment of the Bay.
The California Coastkeeper Alliance (CCKA), a coalition of 12 Waterkeeper groups spanning the coast from the Oregon border to San Diego, and San Francisco Baykeeper today called on the U.S. Coast Guard and the State of California’s Office of Spill Prevention and Response to work with the public and lawmakers to improve oil spill preparedness and response in the San Francisco Bay Area and around the state. CCKA and Baykeeper spoke in response to the U.S. Coast Guard’s release today of its Phase I Incident Specific Preparedness Review (ISPR) Report on the Cosco Busan oil spill.
The San Francisco Bay is part of the largest estuary on the entire Pacific Coast of the Americas. One of the most biologically productive water bodies in the world, the Bay supports commercial and recreational fisheries, including Chinook salmon, Pacific herring, Bay mussel, and Dungeness crab. The Bay’s open water habitats, as well as its rocky shorelines and salt marshes, provide critical areas for many species and millions of migratory shorebirds depend on the Bay as a resting spot along the Pacific Flyway.
Who: San Francisco Baykeeper and Assemblyman Jared Huffman
What: Town Hall Meeting on Government and Community Response to the Cosco Busan Oil Spill Where: Stinson Beach Community Center
When: Saturday, December 15 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
In the early morning heavy fog of November 7, an 902-foot long cargo ship collided with the wooden fender of the delta tower base of the Bay Bridge, spilling 58,000 gallons of bunker fuel into the San Francisco Bay. Initial reports from the US Coast Guard indicated that the Cosco Busan’s torn hull leaked only 140 gallons of fuel, but within the first hour, the oil was 1/3 of a square mile and fumes were closing down the San Francisco waterfront.
The holidays are just around the corner, and many Bay Area residents are gearing up for special meals – with buttery foods, turkeys and homemade gravy. Food-focused holidays challenge not only waistlines but, surprisingly, local sewer lines. This year, Baykeeper and EBMUD urge residents to protect their homes and the Bay by keeping fats, oil and grease out of pipes and visiting one of the District’s free residential cooking oil and grease recycling locations.