South San Francisco Waste and Recycling Facility Will Protect the Bay from Toxic Runoff

Dec 23, 2015

In the 30th victory for Baykeeper’s Bay-Safe Industry Campaign, the operators of a waste disposal and recycling facility on the San Francisco Bay shoreline recently 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 cleanup agreement came in response to Baykeeper’s enforcement action under the federal Clean Water Act.

The two companies jointly run the facility, which is open to the public. It 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 materials are trucked out for recycling and disposal at other locations.

During the past five years, Blue Line Transfer’s own testing of storm water running off the site and into the Bay showed contamination with multiple pollutants. These included lead, other heavy metals, organic waste matter, and small suspended particles, all at levels above EPA water quality standards.

The two companies were cooperative in working with Baykeeper to fix the problems on the site. Their legally-binding agreement requires them to install a bioretention swale, a narrow trough with drainage that uses vegetation to remove pollutants from storm water. The companies will also install a storm water treatment system. To reduce contamination spread by vehicles entering and leaving the facility, the companies have put in rumble strips at exits and entrances.

Blue Line and South San Francisco Scavenger will continue to test their storm water runoff for pollutants. Baykeeper will monitor the results, and if necessary, require additional pollution controls at the site.

To partly make up for past pollution, the two companies will provide funds to Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment to fund projects by other nonprofits that benefit the San Francisco Bay watershed. The companies will also provide funds to the Peninsula Open Space Trust for wetland restoration at Bair Island.

Baykeeper's Bay-Safe Industry Campaign targets the widespread problem of illegal runoff that flows into San Francisco Bay from Bay Area industrial facilities. In addition to legal action against Blue Line Transfer, Inc. and other facilities found to be significantly polluting the Bay, the campaign includes advocacy to strengthen regulation of industrial storm water.

Photo by D Coetzee (Flickr/CC)

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