Baykeeper Update

East Bay Plastics Recycler Agrees to Stop Polluting San Leandro Creek

In Baykeeper’s 44th Bay-Safe Industry win, Containers Unlimited has agreed to stop pollution of San Francisco Bay from its Oakland recycling facility.

Baykeeper’s investigation found that the Containers Unlimited facility was releasing polluted runoff with high levels of heavy metals, chemical oxygen demand (a measure of organic matter), and total suspended solids (a measure of small particles, including industrial waste).

Aerial of Containers Unlimited from Google

Large quantities of exposed plastic containers around the facility, pictured at right, were likely a source of some of the contamination. When rainwater fell on these exposed materials and other parts of the site, it carried pollution into the municipal storm water sewer system, which discharges into San Leandro Creek, a tributary of San Leandro Bay, which is an inlet of San Francisco Bay. 

The owner of Containers Unlimited—Mamac Investment, Inc.—has agreed to invest in improved pollution controls to stop contaminants from flowing into San Leandro Creek. In Baykeeper’s legally binding settlement with the company, Mamac Investment committed to construct physical barriers to contain polluted runoff.

Containers Unlimited - After cleanupThe company also agreed to take further cleanup action if these steps are insufficient. Containers Unlimited has already made major improvements by clearing the uncovered plastic containers, previously exposed to storm water, from the site (see photo, left).

To partially make up for its past pollution, Mamac Investment, Inc., will provide funds to the Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment, to support other nonprofits’ projects that benefit San Francisco Bay-Delta watershed.

Baykeeper’s Bay-Safe Industry Campaign targets the widespread problem of heavily polluted, illegal storm water runoff that flows into San Francisco Bay from industrial facilities. Twenty-six industrial facilities have already reduced their pollution or have completely stopped polluting as a result of this campaign. We will continue to work with the remaining 18 facilities to ensure that they keep pollution out of San Francisco Bay.

Pictured above, the Containers Unlimited site before and after clearing exposed plastics. Photos by Google and Baykeeper.