Algae Bloom Fish Kills Prompt New Bay Area Wastewater Treatment Requirements

Ten years. That’s how much time the Bay Area’s 37 wastewater treatment plants will have to reduce fertilizer and sewage in their water by 40%. The estimated price tag for the facility upgrades is $11 billion. The San Francisco Regional Water Quality Control Board plans to adopt the change as part of its new discharge permit requirement beginning June 12. Previous permits did not require reductions, according to Lorien Fono, executive director of the Bay Area Clean Water Agencies, which oversees the region’s wastewater treatment plants. She spoke from the Oro Loma Sanitary District in San Lorenzo on Thursday. The facility is considered a model for upgrades. The regulatory change follows a damaging algae bloom in 2022 and 2023. A brown algae species called Heterosigma akashiwo, which feeds off the nitrogen in wastewater, infected the Bay and damaged aquatic ecosystems.

Read the Full Article