Last week, Baykeeper and The Boatyard at Grand Marina reached a settlement agreement to reduce the Alameda boat repair facility’s storm water pollution of San Francisco Bay.
Baykeeper initiated legal action after observing significant amounts of boat paint residue on the pavement at Grand Marina, which is located on the Oakland Estuary. Boat paint residue generally contains high levels of copper, a heavy metal that is toxic to salmon.
Baykeeper then tested storm water runoff from Grand Marina. We documented high levels not only of copper, but also of two other toxic heavy metals, lead and zinc. All three are common contaminants of boatyard runoff and toxic to Bay life forms, but Grand Marina had not been testing its runoff for these pollutants.
“Once we notified Grand Marina about the contamination they were causing in San Francisco Bay, the operators moved quickly to investigate ways to reduce their pollution levels,” says Baykeeper Program Director Jason Flanders. “We believe the storm water controls they have agreed to install will significantly reduce this pollution in the Bay.”
Boatyards are common sources of heavy metal contamination due to their work with hull paint and finishes. Activities such as pressure washing, sanding, painting and cleaning can release a wide variety of pollutants onto the site, which are then washed into the Bay by rainwater. Plus, because boatyards are located on the waterfront, the pollution washes directly into the Bay.
Baykeeper is helping other Bay Area boatyards develop solutions to drastically reduce their pollution. Earlier this month, Baykeeper reached an agreement with Svendsen's Boat Works, a nearby Alameda boatyard, to reduce its storm water pollution of the Bay.
At Grand Marina, pollution controls will include berms (barriers that channel water) to direct storm water into several settling tanks. The tanks will ultimately lead to a treatment system, which will remove pollutants before the water is discharged into the Oakland Estuary.
In addition, Grand Marina has switched from wet sanding to dry sanding for boat paint removal, to reduce the amount of paint that will come into contact with storm water.
Baykeeper will continue partnering with Grand Marina and other local boatyards to help ensure a healthier San Francisco Bay for both humans and wildlife.