Bringing a Repeat Polluter to Justice

Jul 20, 2022

In a recent roundup of industrial polluters around the Bay, our pollution monitoring team encountered a familiar name: Granite Rock.

Granite Rock is a mining and construction company with several facilities around the Bay Area. In 2007 and in 2016, we took legal action against the company for polluting the Bay with contaminated stormwater runoff flowing from two of its concrete plants. Those lawsuits forced the company to install a stormwater treatment system and other pollution controls, significantly reducing polluted runoff into the Bay.

But while we were reviewing the company’s most recent water sampling data from its San Jose plant, we found a whole host of new issues. Granite Rock’s sampling reports were riddled with errors—and once our team untangled the results, we found illegal levels of contamination, including heavy metals and high alkalinity. The pollution from its San Jose plant flows into Coyote Creek, an important tributary of San Francisco Bay.

So we took action—and compelled Granite Rock to sign a legally binding agreement to stop the pollution. Moreover, we urged the company to install a stormwater treatment system in San Jose similar to the one that had worked so well at the other location. And we were pleased to see that the recently installed treatment system has already vastly improved the quality of their stormwater runoff.

Plus, to make up for some of its past pollution, Granite Rock is directing $75,000 to the nonprofit Coastal Habitat Education & Environmental Restoration (CHEER) for a trash removal project along Coyote Creek and the Guadalupe River.

We hope that Granite Rock—which proclaims “environmental responsibility” as a core company value—has finally learned its lesson. But if not, we’ll be watching.

Pictured: Coyote Creek Lagoon by Robb Most

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