When Congress passed the Clean Water Act, they included a citizen suit provision that allows citizens and citizen groups like Baykeeper to bring a lawsuit against a polluter in order to enforce the law when state and federal regulators do not. Congress specifically provided this tool so that citizens and citizen groups—not just regulators—would have the power to ensure that polluters follow the law.
With California's enforcement agencies drastically underfunded, Baykeeper plays a critical role in enforcing the Clean Water Act to control industrial storm water pollution. Baykeeper has a long history of successful Clean Water Act litigation to reduce industrial storm water pollution in San Francisco Bay. Our staff has the legal and scientific expertise to research and identify which facilities need to be cleaned up, recommend appropriate improvements and secure legally-binding agreements to effectively reduce toxic pollution.
Below are successful settlements reached in Baykeeper’s Bay-Safe Industry Campaign:
One less polluter in the South Bay
In October 2020, Air Products in Santa Clara agreed to install robust pollution controls, including treating its runoff to remove pollutants. Our investigation had found that the site was releasing harmful levels of heavy metals, nitrogen, and other pollutants into the local stormwater system that feeds into the Guadalupe River, Alviso Slough, and San Francisco Bay.
Short circuting pollution to the Bay
In October 2020, the owners of TTM Technologies, a circuit board manufacturer, agreed to adopt our recommendations to install robust pollution controls, including filters and catchments. The facility had been releasing extremely high levels of heavy metals and nitrogen into the Santa Clara stormwater system that feeds into the Guadalupe River, Alviso Slough, and San Francisco Bay. Baykeeper will continue to monitor the facility in the coming years to ensure the site does not continue to pollute tributaries of the Bay.
Being a good neighbor to the Bay
In August 2020, we settled an agreement with PJ's Rebar under the Clean Water Act. As a result, the company will install an advanced stormwater treatment system, as well as a number of basic pollution controls.
Lab results from PJ’s Rebar revealed that its Fremont facility had been releasing stormwater runoff contaminated with heavy metals, nitrogen, and other pollutants. This toxic runoff then entered the stormwater system that drains directly into the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge, which is home to several endangered species and is a pupping site for harbor seals. The Refuge is also a popular destination for anglers, runners, birders, and bikers. We will monitor their progress over the coming years, requiring additional fixes if needed.
Stopping Compost Pollution in Suisun Marsh
In June 2019, the owners of Vision Recycling agreed to adopt our recommendation to contain all of the facility's runoff, so no pollutants enter Suisun Marsh. The marsh provides important habitat for many native fish, birds, and plants in the northern part of San Francisco Bay. The Vision Recycling facility had been releasing excessive phosphorus and nitrogen, which can deplete oxygen from water, suffocating aquatic animals and spurring the growth of toxic algae blooms. Baykeeper will continue to monitor Vision Recycling’s operations to make sure their new pollution controls are working effectively to protect Suisun Marsh and the Bay.
East Bay Plastics Recycler Agrees to Stop Polluting San Leandro Creek
In May 2018, the owners of Containers Unlimited, Mamac Investment, Inc., agreed to stop contaminated rainwater from running off its plastics recycling site and into San Leandro Creek and San Leandro Bay, which flows to San Francisco Bay. Baykeeper’s investigation had found that the Containers Unlimited facility in Oakland was releasing polluted runoff with high levels of heavy metals, chemical oxygen demand (a measure of organic matter), and total suspended solids (a measure of small particles, including industrial waste). In Baykeeper’s legally binding settlement, Mamac Investment agreed to construct physical barriers to contain polluted runoff, and take further steps if needed.
San Jose Paper Recycler Agrees to Keep Pollution Out of the Bay
In May 2018, The Newark Group, Inc., a San Jose paper recycling facility, agreed to prevent contaminated rainwater from running off its San Jose site and into a storm drain that empties into the Guadalupe River, which flows to San Francisco Bay. The facility’s runoff has been contaminated with high levels of pollutants that are harmful to underwater life. The company’s legally-binding agreement with Baykeeper requires the facility to cover inbound shredded paper, make specific improvements to its runoff filtration system, and keep the site cleaner. Recycling facilities like this one serve an important function by reducing waste in landfills. The company’s agreement with Baykeeper will ensure that it can fulfill this role without contaminating the Bay.
Fire-Damaged Richmond Auto Wrecker Agrees to Protect the Bay from Contamination
In May 2018, Deal Auto Company, a used auto parts facility just outside Richmond, agreed to implement controls to prevent contaminated water from running off its site and into storm drains that empty into San Francisco Bay. After a large fire in 2015 charred hundreds of cars stored at the site, the business was closed, but may reopen. Rainwater running off the burned materials has flowed directly into storm drains that empty into San Francisco Bay, containing high levels of pollutants harmful to fish and other wildlife. The company’s legally-binding agreement with Baykeeper requires it to install an advanced runoff treatment system, keep the site cleaner; and implement additional pollution control measures if needed.
Landfill Agrees to Stop Polluting Coyote Creek & the Bay
The operators of the Newby Island landfill in Milpitas agreed in March 2018 to stop releasing contaminated runoff into tributaries of the Bay. Through our investigations, Baykeeper found that the facility had been releasing excessive levels of pollutants—including selenium, iron, aluminum, nitrogen, and sediment—into Coyote Creek and Lower Penitencia Creek for years. Both of these creeks are tributaries of San Francisco Bay. The facility will be required to institute improvements, including strengthening basic housekeeping to clean up contaminated materials; installing storm drain filters; taking action to prevent erosion; and regularly testing rainwater running off the site to monitor pollution levels.
San Francisco Rendering Plant Agrees to Protect the Bay from Contamination
Darling Ingredients agreed in November 2017 to prevent rainwater contaminated with pollutants that harm fish and other wildlife from running off its site and into San Francisco Bay. Darling Ingredients operates a food processing by-product recycling plant at Pier 92 along San Francisco’s eastern shoreline. The company converts used cooking oil, fat, bone, and protein into ingredients used in the production of feed, fuel, and fertilizer. Rainwater runs off Darling Ingredients’ site and into storm drains that empty into Islais Creek, which connects to San Francisco Bay. The runoff has been contaminated with numerous pollutants at levels above EPA levels of concern, including oil, grease, heavy metals, acid, and nitrate. The company agreed keep the site cleaner and to install filtration systems to remove pollutants from its storm water before the water runs off the site.
Stopping Bay Pollution from a Trash Facility
Peninsula Sanitary Service, Inc., agreed in August 2017 to keep polluted runoff from flowing into a channel feeding into San Francisco Bay tributaries. The company is the waste disposal contractor for the Stanford University campus, handling compost, recyling, and landfill trash. Baykeeper’s investigation found that the facility’s wastewater was contaminated with high levels of heavy metals, organic compounds, oil, grease, and total suspended solids (a measure of small particles of silt and industrial waste). To rein in contamination, the company agreed to make upgrades, including installing an advanced water treatment system, and more regularly monitoring runoff for contamination.
Oakland Asphalt Recycler Agrees to Keep Polluted Runoff out of the Bay
Asphalt Shingle Recyclers, LLC, agreed in November 2016 to keep contaminated rainy-season runoff from flowing off its Oakland property into Bay tributaries. The company recycles construction debris, and discharges storm water into a ditch that empties into East Creek Slough, which connects to San Leandro Bay. Baykeeper’s investigation found the company’s own reports showed high levels of total suspended solids (a measure of small particles, including industrial waste) in the storm water runoff leaving their facility. The company’s reports also indicated that they had failed to test for heavy metals as required under the laws regulating industrial storm water runoff. When our team met with the owner, the company was very cooperative in devising a plan to keep these toxics out of the Bay, agreeing to improve basic pollution controls and testing, and filter rain water flowing off the site.
Redwood City Concrete Plant to Rein in Bay Contamination
The Granite Rock Company, which produces concrete and asphalt, agreed in October 2016 to implement pollution controls to protect the Bay from contamination from its Redwood City concrete batch plant. The plant is located along Redwood Creek, which drains into San Francisco Bay. Tests showed that the site was releasing storm water with elevated levels of iron and other contaminants. The runoff was also highly alkaline, a common problem associated with concrete manufacturing, which can have negative effects on wildlife and overall water quality. The company is now required to install an enhanced filtration treatment system and closely monitor site runoff to keep contamination out of Redwood Creek and the Bay. This is the second time Baykeeper has sued Granite Rock under the Clean Water Act. Baykeeper will continue to keep tabs on the company’s outflows and require more stringent measures if necessary.
Rodeo Auto Dismantler Agrees to Keep Polluted Runoff Out of the Bay
The auto dismantler Pinole Rodeo Auto Wreckers agreed in September 2016 to prevent contaminated rainwater from running off its site into Rodeo Creek and San Francisco Bay. Baykeeper sued the company under the Clean Water Act after the company’s own reports showed that during rain storms, water running off the site contained high levels of oil, grease, and other contaminants. The facility has agreed to prevent excess water from flowing onto the site, prevent toxic fluids from mixing with storm water with an expanded concrete pad, and install a basin to capture and treat rainwater before it flows off the property.
San Jose Debris Removal Facility Agrees to Keep Contaminated Runoff out of the Bay
Eco Box Recycling, a debris removal and recycling facility in San Jose, agreed in June 2016 to keep contaminated rainwater from running off its site and into Coyote Creek, a tributary of San Francisco Bay. Baykeeper learned about pollution from Eco Box via a tip we received to our Pollution Hotline. Eco Box rents and hauls away debris boxes, provides junk removal, and recycles materials that include construction waste, metal, household goods, electronic waste, paper, plastic, and yard waste. The company has been storing some materials outdoors, where they were exposed to rain. The site is on the Coyote Creek banks, and pollutants have been running into the creek that can harm salmon, steelhead, and other fish that spawn and mature in the creek. The company is now required to implement pollution controls that include sorting and storing all metal and electronic waste indoors, and installing storm drain filters to remove pollutants from rainwater before it runs off into the creek.
Berkeley Trash & Recycling Center Agrees to Protect the Bay from Toxic Runoff
The City of Berkeley Transfer Station and Recycling Center agreed in May 2016 to keep contaminated rainwater from running off its site and into storm drains that empty into San Francisco Bay. Baykeeper sued the facility under the Clean Water Act because for five years, rainwater running off the property was contaminated with a long list of pollutants, including aluminum, copper, iron, lead, zinc, excess acid, oil and grease. All of these pollutants can be harmful to Bay wildlife. The facility operators--Berkeley's city government and Community Conservation Centers--cooperated with Baykeeper to find solutions to the site’s pollution problems. Pollution controls include moving the sorting of some materials indoors, keeping the site cleaner, and diverting polluted storm water to the sewer system for processing at a wastewater treatment plant.
Santa Clara Plating Company Agrees to Keep Toxic Runoff from Polluting the Bay
CSL, a metal plating and coating company in Santa Clara, agreed in April 2016 to keep contaminated rainwater from running off of its site and into storm drains that eventually flow to San Francisco Bay. Baykeeper sued the company under the federal Clean Water Act because its storm water runoff contained high levels of aluminum, zinc, iron, nitrate, nitrite, and acid. These pollutants are toxic to fish and other aquatic life. The company operators were cooperative in working with Baykeeper to find solutions to the pollution problems, which were mostly the result of the facility’s exhaust system depositing pollutants on the roof.
San Rafael Rock Quarry Agrees to Protect the Bay from Contaminated Runoff
San Rafael Rock Quarry agreed in March 2016 to improve operations at its shoreline site to keep polluted water from running off its site directly into San Francisco Bay. The company produces rock, gravel, and sand for uses that include road repair, levee repair, and building construction. The quarry’s legally-binding settlement agreement with Baykeeper protects the Bay from pollutants that include iron, nitrite, nitrate, and total suspended solids (a measure of small particles, including silt and industrial waste, in water).
Santa Clara Waste Facility Agrees to Keep Toxic Runoff Out of the Bay
Mission Trail Waste Systems, Inc., a garbage and recycling facility in Santa Clara, agreed in January 2016 to keep contaminated rainwater from running off the site and into storm drains that empty into tributaries of San Francisco Bay. Mission Trail collects garbage, green waste, and recyclables from Santa Clara and Los Altos residents and businesses. The materials are hauled to the Santa Clara facility and sorted. Pollutants from the site include heavy metals and chemical oxygen demand, a measure of certain types of toxic chemicals in water. Under Mission Trail’s legally-binding agreement with Baykeeper, the company is required to install a device called a hydrodynamic separator, which removes pollutants from water that flows through it. If necessary, Mission Trail will also install an advanced storm water treatment system.
South San Francisco Waste and Recycling Facility Will Protect the Bay from Toxic Runoff
In December 2015, the operators of a waste disposal and recycling facility on the San Francisco Bay shoreline agreed to keep polluted storm water out of the Bay. Blue Line Transfer, Inc. and South San Francisco Scavenger Company, Inc. will make changes at the Blue Line Transfer facility in South San Francisco to protect the Bay from contamination. The facility is open to the public and accepts a variety of waste materials, including wood, yard waste, dirt, rock, concrete, demolition waste, garbage, hazardous waste, and recyclables such as bottles and cans. The two companies will implement controls to protect the Bay from pollutants that include heavy metals, organic waste matter, and small suspended particles. The pollution controls will include a storm water treatment system and a bioretention swale, a narrow trough with drainage that uses vegetation to remove pollutants from storm water.
Marin Concrete Plant Agrees to Protect the Bay from Contaminated Runoff
Shamrock Materials, Inc. agreed in October 2015 to implement pollution controls at its San Rafael concrete production plant in order to protect San Francisco Bay from contaminated runoff. Baykeeper brought suit under the Clean Water Act based on the company’s reports of pollution in storm water running off its site. At Shamrock Materials’ San Rafael facility, the company produces a variety of concrete mixes, and also stores and sells building materials. For the past five years, rainwater running off the site contained pollution at levels higher than EPA water quality standards. The polluted water washed off into storm drains that empty into San Rafael Creek, which flows to San Francisco Bay. Baykeeper’s legally-binding agreement with Shamrock Materials will protect the Bay from several pollutants that are a threat to wildlife, including excess iron and alkalinity.
San Jose Concrete Plant Agrees to Keep Toxic Runoff from Polluting the Bay
Central Concrete Supply, a concrete manufacturing plant in San Jose, agreed in July 2015 to stop allowing contaminated rainwater to run off the facility and into storm drains that empty into San Francisco Bay or into Bay tributaries. Baykeeper brought suit under the Clean Water Act based on Central Concrete’s own reports of polluted storm water running off its site. Central Concrete was cooperative in working with Baykeeper to fix the facility’s runoff pollution problems. Under the company’s legally-binding agreement with Baykeeper, Central Concrete is required to install raised barriers called berms near the driveways, capture all storm water, and prevent it from running off the site. The water will be recycled on-site as part of concrete manufacturing operations. The facility will also improve its procedures for keeping the site clean.
Marin Sanitary Service Agrees to Protect Bay from Polluted Runoff
Marin Sanitary Service in San Rafael agreed in June 2015 to improve its site to protect San Francisco Bay from contaminated runoff. Marin Sanitary Service is a family-operated business that provides services that include curbside recycling; solid waste, yard waste, and food scrap hauling; and household hazardous waste disposal in Marin County. The company had been accumulating many of the materials it handled in outdoor stockpiles. When rain fell, it collected pollutants and washed off the site directly into San Francisco Bay, and into storm drains that empty into the Bay. The company owner was cooperative in working with Baykeeper to fix the problems on the site. Under our agreement, Marin Sanitary Service is now required to install systems to treat runoff from industrial areas of the facility before it leaves the property, cover the open stockpiles, and implement additional pollution controls.
Concord Auto Dismantler Agrees to Keep Runoff from Polluting the Bay
In April 2015, McHugh Auto Wrecking in Concord agreed to make significant changes to its site in order to keep the auto dismantler’s toxic runoff from polluting San Francisco Bay. The company dismantles vehicles to resell used parts and crushes what remains. An auto crusher, parts of dismantled vehicles, and scrap metal were stored outdoors, exposing them to rain. When rain fell, it picked up pollutants before washing off the site into storm drains that empty into tributaries of Carquinez Strait, which flows into the Bay. The facility's owner, John McHugh, has been extremely cooperative in working with Baykeeper to fix the pollution problems. All auto dismantling activities, scrap metal, and equipment will be kept under a roof. Additional pollution controls will include increased sweeping of the site.
Oakland Auto Dismantler Agrees to Protect the Bay from Contaminated Runoff
In March 2015, Cole Brothers Auto Wrecking, an auto dismantling facility in Oakland, agreed to implement controls to protect San Francisco Bay from the company’s contaminated runoff.
The company had been allowing rain to come into contact with partly-dismantled vehicles and auto parts stored at the facility. The storm water, which was polluted with heavy metals, washed off the site and into storm drains that empty directly into San Francisco Bay. Cole Brothers was extremely cooperative in working with Baykeeper to determine improvements to reduce the site’s runoff pollution, and the company will remove all partially-dismantled cars, remove or store under cover old auto parts, and convert the site to an auto storage facility.
San Jose Auto Dismantler Will Reduce Bay Contamination
In February 2015, Baykeeper reached a legally-binding agreement with B2 Auto Dismantler, an autowrecking facility in San Jose, to clean up the company’s contaminated runoff to San Francisco Bay. B2 Auto Dismantler had been allowing rain to wash heavy metals off the site and into storm drains that lead to Guadalupe River and Coyote Creek, which drain to the Bay. Baykeeper’s investigation revealed that over the past five years, storm water from B2 Auto Dismantler has contained copper, zinc, aluminum, and iron at levels consistently above EPA recommended limits.
The company has been extremely cooperative in working with Baykeeper to reduce the site’s runoff pollution. B2 Auto will take steps that include maintaining adequate filters where storm water runs off the site to prevent contamination from reaching nearby waterways, testing its storm water for pollutants, and implementing additional pollution controls if needed.
Syar Napa Quarry Agrees to Protect the Bay from Contaminated Runoff
Syar Industries Napa Quarry agreed in November 2014 to keep contaminated storm water from running off its facility into Arroyo Creek, which flows to the Napa River, and then to San Francisco Bay. At its open-pit quarry, Syar Industries mines rock used in construction and paving. The company also manufactures and recycles concrete and asphalt on the site. For five years, runoff from the facility has contained pollutants above EPA levels of concern.
The legally-binding cleanup agreement came in response to Baykeeper’s Clean Water Act lawsuit and will protect San Francisco Bay from pollutants that include aluminum, lead, oil, grease, and nitrate.
Major Bulk Shipping Terminal Agrees to Stop Toxic Contamination of the Bay
In a critical win for stopping toxic industrial pollution in San Francisco Bay, Baykeeper secured an agreement in October 2014 with the Levin-Richmond Terminal Corporation to install an excellent set of controls to protect the Bay from toxic runoff. Levin-Richmond is a major shipping terminal that handles hundreds of thousands of tons of toxic materials on the Richmond Channel, often stored in large exposed piles along the shoreline. The company resisted pressure from Baykeeper to clean up the facility’s runoff for more than two years, before agreeing to a strong set of standards for reducing runoff pollution. Baykeeper’s agreement required the company to immediately make extensive improvements to keep toxic substances from washing and blowing into San Francisco Bay. Read more about Baykeeper's pollution cleanup agreement with the Levin-Richmond Terminal Corporation.
Benicia Recycling Facility Agrees to Protect the Bay from Toxic Runoff
Pacific Rim Recycling in Benicia agreed In August 2014 to install controls to keep the recycling facility’s toxic runoff from polluting San Francisco Bay. Baykeeper brought suit under the Clean Water Act based on Pacific Rim’s reports of tests of its runoff. The testing showed that the facility was releasing high levels of pollutants such as oil, grease, copper, lead, and aluminum into Carquinez Strait, which flows into the Bay. The company collects and processes recyclable materials from households, businesses, and government agencies, including paper, metal, and electronic waste. Pacific Rim was extremely cooperative in working with Baykeeper to make improvements at its facility. The company has signed a legally-binding agreement committing to implementing controls that include collecting storm water and treating it onsite. Read more about Baykeeper's pollution cleanup agreement with Pacific Rim Recycling.
San Jose Metal Recycler Works with Baykeeper to Keep Runoff from Polluting the Bay
In August 2014, Sims Metal Management in San Jose agreed to keep contaminated runoff from flowing into nearby storm drains that empty into the Guadalupe River, and then into San Francisco Bay. The agreement is the result of Baykeeper’s letter notifying this scrap metal recycler about the site's pollution. Sims worked cooperatively with Baykeeper to take quick action to protect the Bay from pollutants that include oil, grease, aluminum, iron, zinc, copper, and lead. Read more about Baykeeper’s pollution cleanup agreement with Sims Metal Management.
Pleasanton Concrete Manufacturer Agrees to Protect Bay from Toxic Runoff
Oldcastle Precast, a manufacturer of concrete products, agreed in April 2014 to install pollution controls to protect San Francisco Bay from contaminated runoff from its Pleasanton facility. Contamination from the Oldcastle site has been running off into storm drains the empty into Arroyo del Valle Creek, which flows to Alameda Creek, which empties into San Francisco Bay.T he cleanup agreement came in response to Baykeeper’s Clean Water Act lawsuit and will protect the Bay from pollutants that include heavy metals. Read more about Baykeeper's successful settlement with Oldcastle Precast.
Marine Express Works with Baykeeper to Keep Toxics Out of Bay
Marine Express, Inc., an Alameda company that repairs and services ships, agreed in March 2014 to install controls to keep toxic substances from running off its shoreline facility into San Francisco Bay. Baykeeper filed a Clean Water Act lawsuit against Marine Express after documenting pollution from the site that included toxic metals, oil, and grease above EPA levels of concern. The company immediately discussed the problems with Baykeeper, and began implementing the necessary pollution controls even before finalizing the legally-binding agreement with Baykeeper that requires the company to protect the Bay from runoff pollution. Read more about Baykeeper's successful settlement with Marine Express.
Oakland Metal Coating Facility Will Protect Bay from Toxic Runoff
Pacific Galvanizing in Oakland agreed in December 2013 to keep runoff contaminated with metals from flowing into nearby storm drains that empty into San Francisco Bay. The agreement settled Baykeeper’s Clean Water Act lawsuit against Pacific Galvanizing, and will protect the Bay from pollutants that include zinc, lead, aluminum, iron, oil, grease, fuel, sulfuric acid, and other toxic chemicals.
Baykeeper’s settlement agreement requires Pacific Galvanizing to install a trench drain at the end of its driveway to collect storm water and direct it to the facility’s storm water treatment system. The company will also vacuum sweep its paved areas and driveways twice per day during the rainy season to help reduce pollutants coming in contact with storm water. Read more about Baykeeper's successful settlement with Pacific Galvanizing.
Construction Debris Recycler to Keep Polluted Runoff Out of Bay
Instead of running off into San Francisco Bay, contaminated storm water from Premier Recycle in San Jose will be pumped to storage containers and reused onsite, as a result of Baykeeper's Clean Water Act lawsuit against Premier Recycle.
For five years, Premier Recycle had consistently polluted the Bay with heavy metals and other contaminants. The facility processes construction and demolition waste and debris. Piles of debris are stored outdoors and exposed to rain, which collects contaminants that include metals, oils, and grease. The polluted water ran off the site into storm drains along the street, and from there, it flowed to San Francisco Bay with no filtering or treatment. Baykeeper’s November 2013 legal settlement requires Premier Recycle to close off all storm drains to prevent polluted storm water from leaving the site and entering the Bay. Read more about Baykeeper's successful settlement with Premier Recycle.
Union City Pipe Factory Agrees to Protect Bay from Toxic Runoff
In response to Baykeeper’s lawsuit, U.S. Pipe and Foundry agreed in October 2013 to stop polluted storm water from leaving its Union City pipe manufacturing facility. Runoff containing heavy metals and other toxic substances has been flowing off the U.S. Pipe and Foundry site into Ward Creek, a tributary of Alameda Creek, which empties into San Francisco Bay.
U.S. Pipe and Foundry will build a large retention pond to collect storm water from the facility, which will then be used onsite or allowed to evaporate. Baykeeper will inspect the pond once it is installed, to ensure that it is adequate to protect the Bay from pollution. The company will also provide $45,000 to fund projects by local nonprofit environmental organizations that benefit the San Francisco Bay watershed. Read more about Baykeeper's successful legal settlement with U.S. Pipe and Foundry.
Sunnyvale Waste Facility Agrees to Keep Polluted Runoff Out of the Bay
In October 2013, the city of Sunnyvale agreed to install controls to protect San Francisco Bay from polluted runoff from its waste transfer facility, which handles 1,500 tons per day of trash and recyclables from Sunnyvale, Mountain View, and Palo Alto. Sunnyvale will also protect the Bay from polluted runoff from an adjacent concrete recycling plant. Toxic runoff from these facilities drains into nearby Bay wetlands and Guadalupe Slough.
Runoff from the facilitiies was found to contain heavy metals, and also may contain dust, trash, vehicle fluids such as oil and antifreeze, hazardous wastes, phosphates from truck washing, pesticides, and other toxic chemicals. Now, the facility is required to implement controls that include placing barriers around storm drains to slow the flow of runoff and covering all materials stored outdoors to keep toxic substances from coming in contact with rainwater. Read more about Baykeeper's successful legal settlement with the city of Sunnyvale.
Santa Clara Steel Fabricator Will Curb Pollution of Bay
As a result of Baykeeper’s lawsuit, SOS Steel Company, Inc. agreed in September 2013 to clean up its pollution of San Francisco Bay. Baykeeper sued the Santa Clara steel fabricator after finding that rainy-season runoff from the site was contaminated with toxic metals and chemicals.
Runoff from the facility flows into storm drains that empty into the Guadalupe River, which then flows to San Francisco Bay. Baykeeper’s legally-binding settlement agreement requires SOS to install pollution controls we recommended specifically for this facility, including filters on its storm drains. Read more about Baykeeper's successful settlement with SOS Steel Company, Inc.
GreenWaste in San Jose Agrees to Clean Up Its Bay Pollution
Steelhead trout and Chinook salmon will have a better chance of survival in San Jose’s Coyote Creek and in San Francisco Bay, thanks to Baykeeper’s successful legal action against GreenWaste Recovery, Inc.
GreenWaste, a San Jose recycling facility, has polluted Coyote Creek, which flows to the Bay, with contaminants that include heavy metals that are toxic to fish. In July 2013, GreenWaste signed a legally-binding agreement with Baykeeper requiring the company to stop the pollution. Read more about Baykeeper's successful settlement with GreenWaste Recovery, Inc.
San Jose Recycler to Keep Its Polluted Runoff Out of the Bay
GreenTeam of San Jose agreed in June 2013 to install controls to prevent the recycling facility’s toxic runoff pollution of San Francisco Bay. Baykeeper sued the company after documenting that GreenTeam has polluted the Bay with oil, grease, and heavy metals that include aluminum, copper, iron, zinc, and lead.
The company collects and processes paper, plastic, glass, and other materials from San Jose and surrounding communities. The materials are sorted at the GreenTeam San Jose facility using conveyor belts, screens, electromagnets, and blasts of air. Because materials are stored and moved around outdoors, they are exposed to rainfall that can run off the site after picking up harmful pollutants. Storm water from the facility flows into two storm drains that discharge to the Guadalupe River, which then flows to San Francisco Bay. Read more about Baykeeper's settlement to keep pollution from GreenTeam out of the Bay.
Berkeley Steel Foundry to Stop Polluting the Bay
Toxic brownish water will no longer gush toward San Francisco Bay from Pacific Steel Casting Company in Berkeley, as a result of Baykeeper’s successful Clean Water Act lawsuit against the facility.
Pacific Steel, the fourth largest steel foundry in the U.S., agreed in June 2013 to stop its rainy-season runoff pollution of the Bay. To repair the damage done by its past pollution, the company is also providing funds for Bay Area environmental restoration projects. Read more about Baykeeper's settlement to stop pollution from Pacific Steel.
Major Electronics Recycler Agrees to Clean Up Its Pollution
Xstrata Recycling in San Jose, one of the largest processors of precious-metal-bearing electronic scrap in the western US, agreed in January 2013 to stop its runoff pollution of San Francisco Bay. The company agreed to install new pollution controls after Baykeeper notified them in 2012 that they were polluting the Bay with heavy metals.
Xstrata processes electronic equipment, such as cell phones and circuit boards, to recover copper and precious metals for re-use. Storm water that flows from Xstrata carries toxic pollution to nearby storm drains that lead to San Francisco Bay. The firm’s management was very cooperative and agreed to learn more about how to clean up the contamination. As a result, Baykeeper was able to reach a legally-binding agreement for pollution control with the company without filing a lawsuit under the Clean Water Act. Read more about Baykeeper’s successful agreement with Xstrata.
Partnering With e-Recycling of California to Cut Pollution to the Bay
e-Recycling of California, a Hayward recycler of TVs, computers, and other electronics, volunteered in January 2013 to test its storm water runoff to see if it is polluting San Francisco Bay. e-Recycling will also reduce any pollution found.
The company responded to Baykeeper’s suggestions for pollution controls by proposing a new effort to improve their environmental stewardship, even though most of the contamination entering the Bay from e-Recycling’s site was from a recently-closed facility next door. Read more about Baykeeper’s agreement for control of any pollution found at e-Recycling.
Oakland Metal Recycler to Clean Up Its Bay Pollution
Lakeside Nonferrous Metals, an Oakland metal recycling company, agreed in September 2012 to move one of its outdoor facilities indoors and take other measures to prevent rainy-season pollution of San Francisco Bay. Baykeeper sued Lakeside after documenting that the recycler’s storm water runoff has violated Environmental Protection Agency limits on lead, aluminum, and other toxic pollutants.
In addition to moving one facility indoors, the company agreed to install at its second facility either an advanced storm water treatment system or complete overhead coverage to prevent storm water contamination. Lakeside is also contributing funds for Bay Area environmental restoration projects by other nonprofits. Read more about Baykeeper’s successful settlement with Lakeside.
Berkeley Forge & Tool Agrees to Reduce Pollution of the Bay
In August 2012, Berkeley Forge & Tool, Inc., a manufacturer of machine parts for heavy mining equipment, agreed to reduce its rainy-season pollution of San Francisco Bay. The agreement came after Baykeeper notified Berkeley Forge that its storm water runoff, which flows into storm drains that lead directly to the Bay, contained high levels of aluminum, copper, iron, zinc, and other pollutants.
Berkeley Forge agreed to make several upgrades to reduce pollution, including installation of carbon filters in downspouts that drain water from the buildings’ rooftops. The company is also providing funds for local nonprofits working to restore the San Francisco Bay Watershed. Read more about Baykeeper’s successful settlement with Berkeley Forge.
San Jose Landfill/Recycler to Clean Up Toxic Bay Pollution
In August 2012, Zanker Road Resource Management, a San Jose landfill and recycling facility, agreed to clean up its rainy-season runoff pollution of San Francisco Bay and wetlands that include the Don Edwards National Wildlife Refuge.
Baykeeper sued Zanker after the facility’s own sampling reports showed it had been violating EPA limits for aluminum, copper, iron, zinc and other pollutants in its storm water runoff. Our settlement agreement with Zanker commits the company to significantly reduce its pollution and also to provide funds to two local nonprofits working to protect wetlands. Read more about Baykeeper's successful settlement to reduce pollution from Zanker.
BAE Shipyard Agrees to Clean Up Toxic Bay Pollution
BAE Systems San Francisco Ship Repair, Inc., a ship yard servicing large vessels that include cruise liners and oil tankers, agreed in February 2012 to make significant improvements to its operations and on-site controls to curb its pollution of San Francisco Bay. Baykeeper filed suit against BAE after documenting 113 samples of rainy-season runoff contaminated with extremely high levels of copper, nickel, lead, zinc and other toxic substances.
BAE will use shrouding to keep dust and particles from escaping its dry dock—the largest on the West Coast—and also close nearly 100 unnecessary storm drains that discharge directly to the Bay. Remaining storm drains will be fitted with filtration systems. Read more about Baykeeper's successful settlement to reduce Bay pollution from BAE Systems.
California Waste Solutions to Reduce Bay Pollution
In February 2012, Baykeeper and California Waste Solutions, Inc. (CWS) reached an agreement to reduce storm water pollution from the company’s San Jose recycling facility. CWS collects, sorts and ships out curbside recycling materials to be processed and reused. The facility is located a block from Coyote Creek, which drains to San Francisco Bay.
At right: CWS's property before Baykeeper's legal action to clean up the facility.
Storm water from CWS contained heavy metals such as aluminum, copper, iron, lead and zinc. After being contacted by Baykeeper about the toxic runoff, CWS worked collaboratively with us to determine the best upgrades to reduce pollution. These include adding filtration devices around storm drains, keeping storm drains free of debris and mechanically sweeping paved areas. Read more about Baykeeper's successful settlement to reduce pollution from California Waste Solutions.
Svendsen’s Boat Works to Reduce Bay Pollution
Baykeeper and Svendsen’s Boat Works reached an agreement in April 2012 to reduce storm water pollution of San Francisco Bay from this important Alameda boat repair and maintenance facility. Baykeeper found levels of copper and zinc high enough to be toxic to salmon and other fish at Svendsen’s, which is located on the Oakland Estuary. The toxic runoff was mostly due to heavy metal flakes and dust released when boat hull paint was sanded off during preparation for repainting. When rain fell, these contaminants were washed into the Bay.
Svendsen’s agreed to significant changes in their operations and better housekeeping to capture contaminants on site and keep them out of the Bay. If the pollution still persists, Svendsen’s will implement additional controls. In addition, Svendsen’s has switched from wet sanding to dry sanding for boat paint removal, to reduce the amount of paint that will come into contact with storm water. Read more about Baykeeper's successful settlement to reduce toxic runoff from Svendsen's.
The Boatyard at Grand Marina Agrees to Curb Pollution
In April 2012, Baykeeper and The Boatyard at Grand Marina reached a settlement agreement to reduce the Alameda boat repair facility’s storm water pollution of San Francisco Bay. Grand Marina’s storm water runoff contained high levels of copper, lead and zinc. These heavy metals are common pollutants from boatyards and are toxic to fish.
Grand Marina’s new pollution controls will include berms (barriers that channel water), settling tanks and a treatment system to remove pollutants before storm water is discharged into the Oakland Estuary. Read more about Baykeeper's successful settlement to control runoff pollution from Grand Marina.