- San Francisco Baykeeper has filed a federal lawsuit against Berkeley City, CA and Community Conservation Centers for allegedly discharging polluted storm water into the bay from the Berkeley Transfer Station and the Community Conservation Centers' recycling center. Storm water runoff is among the top contaminants infiltrating the San Francisco Bay, according to the complaint as reported in The Daily Californian.
- Baykeeper managing attorney George Torgun claims that the city and Community Conservation Centers have been in violation of the Clean Water Act for five years by surpassing a state-mandated limit on allowable storm water pollutants.
- Baykeeper sent the city of Berkeley a 60-day notice of intent to file the lawsuit Nov. 6, and the municipality has made it clear that it plans to make improvements to resolve the situation.
As they process garbage, compost, and recyclables, the transfer station and recycling center deal with iron, aluminum, and zinc, which can compound contamination of already tainted stormwater. This poses a risk to humans—especially when leachate gets into drinking water—and can potentially poison marine life.
When recycling streams become increasingly contaminated, especially with single-stream, the problem is further exacerbated and can be serious.
“Stormwater is essentially rainfall that goes into the ocean, (but) the real problem is biological," said professor John Dracup as reported in The Daily Californian. "It can hold viruses, bacteria, and pathogens of various kinds."
While this case calls for legal intervention, and while the problem has gone on far too long, Torgun projects there will be no contest in moving to resolve it.
"The city knows that improvements need to be made such as new filters and better underground tanks, (and) we are looking at a two- to three-year agreement to give the city time to reinforce improvements,
he told The Daily Californian. "The case will be over soon."