In October 2009 the San Francisco Regional Water Quality Control Board adopted the final Municipal Regional Stormwater Permit, pursuant to the Clean Water Act. Also known as an MS4 permit, this document describes the requirements cities are required to follow in regards to stormwater and the associated pollution which enters the Bay through storm drains. For the first time, almost all of the large municipalities in the Bay Area will have a consistent set of regulations to help protect the Bay’s water quality and wildlife from pollution washed from city streets such as trash, oil, pesticides and fertilizers. San Francisco Baykeeper has advocated for nearly four years to achieve stronger regulations over storm water in the Bay Area, and we’re pleased that the permit sets high standards for protecting the Bay from trash.
Unfortunately, the permit still has large loopholes in the regulation of new development in the Bay Area, and it doesn’t aggressively address contamination from dangerous legacy pollutants like mercury and PCBs. Baykeeper will continue pressing the Regional Board and working with local cities to help keep all forms of storm water pollution from harming the Bay and its wildlife.