Oakland and San José, Calif. - Today, San Francisco Baykeeper and the City of San José announced a legal agreement to make the Bay Area’s largest city a greener one. As part of the agreement, San José has committed to make significant future environmental investments by implementing more stormwater capture projects, also known as “green infrastructure.” The anticipated long-term benefits include a reduction in pollutants entering creeks, recharging of groundwater supplies, and beautification of the city landscape -- ultimately enhancing the quality of life for San José residents.
Urban stormwater runoff is widely considered to be the largest source of pollution in the San Francisco Bay. When rain falls on streets, roofs, parking lots, and other hard surfaces, it washes trash and other pollutants into gutters and storm drains. In most Bay Area cities, storm drains drain directly into the Bay, or they empty into local creeks and rivers that flow to the Bay, without filtration or treatment.
“Baykeeper approached San José with its concerns and is proud to have reached an agreement that will not only reduce harmful pollution in San Francisco Bay, but also makes San José a greener place to call home,” said Baykeeper Executive Director Sejal Choksi-Chugh. “San José’s green infrastructure program represents a model for future pollution control and water supply in California.”
“We look forward to our partnership with Baykeeper to build on existing efforts to keep our creeks and Bay clean,” said Kerrie Romanow, director of the San José Environmental Services Department. “Through this new agreement with Baykeeper, San José will further its efforts in managing stormwater runoff in an environmentally-sensitive manner.”
In addition to its commitment to implement a more robust green infrastructure program, San José will take further measures to target trash and potential sewage discharges. The City will invest in the installation of more capture systems that collect trash from stormwater before it reaches rivers and streams and will also improve its sanitary sewer system to prevent sewage from potentially migrating into the storm sewer system.
Over a five-year period, San José will provide $1 million to the San Jose Parks Foundation for projects to reduce trash and human waste pollution, restore habitat, and improve the water quality of Coyote Creek and the Guadalupe River.
The San José City Council approved the agreement with Baykeeper during a public meeting with little opposition on Tuesday, June 14, 2016.
Over its 25-year history, Baykeeper has advocated for tougher requirements on Bay Area cities to protect the Bay from polluted urban runoff and provided cities with expert recommendations for reducing stormwater pollution. Baykeeper’s successful Bay-Safe Industry Campaign also requires polluting industrial facilities to install greener controls to protect the Bay and its tributaries from contaminated storm water runoff. For more information about Baykeeper and its work to stop pollution in San Francisco Bay to keep it healthy for wildlife and safe for our local communities, visit baykeeper.org.
About San José Environmental Services Department
San José, Capital of Silicon Valley, is the largest city in Northern California and the tenth largest city in the nation. The San José Environmental Services Department manages garbage and recycling services; watershed protection and pollution prevention; municipal drinking water and recycled water; sustainability initiatives; and the operation and infrastructure improvements of the San José-Santa Clara Regional Wastewater Facility. With a mission to deliver world class utility services and programs to improve our health, environment, and economy, the department is committed to being a leader in combating climate change at the local government level. Find more information at www.sjenvironment.org.