Construction Debris Recycler to Keep Polluted Runoff Out of Bay

Nov 18, 2013

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. This new victory in Baykeeper’s Bay-Safe Industry Campaign is a result of our successful Clean Water Act lawsuit against Premier Recycle.

Baykeeper sued Premier Recycle after our research and subsequent investigation uncovered that over the past five years, the facility 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 has been running off the site into storm drains along the street, and from there, it flowed to San Francisco Bay with no filtering or treatment.

Premier Recycle is one of eight recycling facilities where Baykeeper has secured cleanup agreements that are curbing the facilities’ pollution of San Francisco Bay. Recycling facilities provide a valuable environmental service by diverting solid waste from landfills. But if they operate in a way that causes water pollution (or other types of pollution), it can undermine the value of what they do. Premier Recycle’s new legal agreement with Baykeeper will help bring its operations more in line with its stated mission, which includes making its community a better place, as well as reducing the amount of waste sent to landfills.

Baykeeper’s legal settlement requires Premier Recycle to close off all storm drains. This will prevent polluted storm water from leaving the site and entering the Bay. Instead the facility will develop a closed loop system to reuse the storm water onsite.

To make up in part for past pollution, Premier Recycle will provide funds to the Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment to help support projects that benefit the San Francisco Bay watershed.

Our Bay-Safe Industry Campaign targets widespread, illegal runoff that flows into San Francisco Bay from most of the Bay Area’s 1,300 industrial facilities. In addition to legal action against Premier Recycle and other facilities found to be significantly polluting the Bay, the campaign includes outreach and education to industrial facilities, and advocacy for tighter regulations on industrial storm water.

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