San Francisco Rendering Plant Agrees to Protect the Bay from Contamination

In the 40th victory for Baykeeper’s Bay-Safe Industry Campaign, Darling Ingredients has agreed to prevent rainwater contaminated with pollutants that harm fish and other wildlife from running off its site and into San Francisco Bay.

Darling Ingredients operates a food processing by-product recycling plant at Pier 92 along San Francisco’s eastern shoreline. The company converts used cooking oil, fat, bone, and protein into ingredients used in the production of feed, fuel, and fertilizer.

Rainwater runs off Darling Ingredients’ site and into storm drains that empty into Islais Creek, which connects to San Francisco Bay. Baykeeper’s investigation uncovered that runoff from the site has been contaminated with numerous pollutants at levels above EPA levels of concern. The pollutants included oil, grease, heavy metals, total suspended solids (a measure of very small particles of industrial waste and other pollution), chemical oxygen demand and biochemical oxygen demand (two measures of polluting substances that decrease the amount of oxygen dissolved in water; too little oxygen can harm fish and other aquatic life), and nitrate.

Baykeeper secured a legally-binding agreement that requires Darling Ingredients to keep the site cleaner and to phase in filtration systems to remove pollutants from its storm water before the water runs off the site. If initial filtration measures don’t do enough to reduce pollution, the company is required to implement more advanced filtration systems.

During Baykeeper’s research into Darling Ingredients’ operations, we also investigated the company’s permit for discharging wastewater into the San Francisco sewer system. Baykeeper successfully sued the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission and got the agency to improve the permit, so it is now more protective of San Francisco Bay.

To partially make up for its past pollution, Darling Ingredients will provide funds to the Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment, to support other nonprofits’ projects that benefit San Francisco Bay.

Baykeeper’s Bay-Safe Industry Campaign targets the widespread problem of heavily polluted, illegal storm water runoff that flows into San Francisco Bay from Bay Area industrial facilities. Twenty-six 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 Darling Ingredients and the other remaining 13 facilities to ensure that they keep pollution out of San Francisco Bay.