Stopping Bay Pollution from a Trash Facility

Aug 30, 2017

In the 39th victory in Baykeeper’s Bay-Safe Industry Campaign, Peninsula Sanitary Service, Inc., has agreed to stop releasing polluted runoff into creeks that flow to San Francisco Bay.

Peninsula Sanitary Service has a long-term contract with Stanford University to dispose of campus waste, including recyclables, compost, and landfill trash. Recent monitoring showed that its facility was releasing pollution through a channel into Santa Rita Creek and Matadero Creek, both tributaries of San Francisco Bay. Matadero Creek also feeds into Palo Alto’s Baylands Nature Preserve, an important Bay Area marshland and wildlife habitat.

Baykeeper’s investigation found that the facility’s wastewater was contaminated with high levels of heavy metals, organic compounds, oil, grease, and total suspended solids (a measure of small particles of silt and industrial waste). Contaminant levels were higher than the benchmarks set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and at levels that could harm fish and other wildlife.

The Baykeeper team worked with the owners of Peninsula Sanitary Service to develop a plan for reining in this polluted runoff. In August, the company agreed to make upgrades, including installing an advanced water treatment system, and more regularly monitoring runoff for contamination.

To help compensate for the damage caused by its past pollution, Peninsula Sanitary Services will provide $12,500 to the Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment and additional $12,500 to Clean Water Action's ReThink Disposable Campaign. This funding will support nonprofit projects to benefit San Francisco Bay and reduce trash pollution statewide.

Baykeeper’s Bay-Safe Industry Campaign targets the widespread illegal practice of releasing polluted runoff into San Francisco Bay. Twenty-one industrial facilities have already reduced their pollution to below EPA levels of concern or have completely stopped polluting as a result of this campaign. We will continue to work with Peninsula Sanitary Services and the other remaining 17 facilities to ensure that they keep pollution out of San Francisco Bay.

Baylands Bird by Robb Most

Photo of Palo Alto Baylands bird by Robb Most

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