San Jose Concrete Plant Agrees to Keep Toxic Runoff from Polluting the Bay

Jul 8, 2015

Central Concrete Supply, a concrete manufacturing plant in San Jose, recently agreed to keep contaminated rainwater from running off the facility and into storm drains that empty into San Francisco Bay or into Bay tributaries. Instead, the plant will re-use the water for its operations. Baykeeper brought suit under the Clean Water Act based on Central Concrete’s own reports of storm water running off its site.

At Central Concrete’s San Jose concrete plant, ingredients that can include sand, rock, gravel, and cement are combined to form concrete. The company also operates 11 other facilities throughout the Bay Area.

Over the last five years, samples of rainwater running off the San Jose concrete plant contained oil, grease, and iron above EPA recommended levels. The runoff also had high levels of total suspended solids, a term that refers to small particles, including dirt and other waste, in water.

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 agreed 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, which Central Concrete determined was the best approach. The facility will also improve its procedures for keeping the site clean.

If these measures don’t stop all storm water from running off the facility, Central Concrete is required to test any runoff for pollutants. The company identified improper sampling methods and training deficiencies, and agreed to improve them. Baykeeper will monitor the results of the testing, and, if necessary, require Central Concrete to implement additional pollution controls. 

In addition, to mitigate for past polluted storm water, Central Concrete will provide funds for projects that benefit the San Francisco Bay watershed.

The agreement with Central Concrete is the 28th victory in Baykeeper’s Bay-Safe Industry Campaign.  The campaign targets the widespread problem of illegal storm water runoff that flows into San Francisco Bay from Bay Area industrial facilities. In addition to legal action against facilities found to be significantly polluting the Bay, the campaign includes advocacy and litigation to strengthen regulation of industrial storm water.

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