Baykeeper Update

Fire-Damaged Richmond Auto Wrecker Agrees to Protect the Bay from Contamination

In Baykeeper’s latest victory to stop industrial pollution in San Francisco Bay, Deal Auto Company, located in Contra Costa County near Richmond, has agreed to prevent contaminated rainwater from running off its site and into San Francisco Bay.

A used auto parts business, Deal Auto Company had a large fire in 2015. Hundreds of cars stored at the site were charred. The business is currently closed and making arrangements for a possible reopening.

As the lot sits unused, rainwater running off the burned materials onsite has flowed uncontrolled directly into storm drains that empty into San Francisco Bay. The runoff contained high levels of heavy metals, chemical oxygen demand (a measure of organic matter in water), and total suspended solids (a measure of small particles, including silt and industrial waste). These pollutants are harmful to fish and other wildlife. For example, high levels of chemical oxygen demand can cause toxic algae blooms and death to sea creatures.

Baykeeper investigated Deal Auto Company for its violations of the Clean Water Act, and then worked with the company to develop a pollution control plan. Deal Auto’s legally-binding agreement with Baykeeper requires the company to install an advanced treatment system for its runoff by October 1, 2018; keep the site cleaner; and implement additional pollution control measures if needed.

To partially offset the harm from its past polluting activities, Deal Auto Company will provide funds to the Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment, to be used to support projects by other nonprofits that benefit San Francisco Bay.

The legally-binding agreement with Deal Auto Company marks the 42nd victory in Baykeeper’s Bay-Safe Industry Campaign. The campaign targets the widespread problem of heavily polluted, illegal storm water runoff that flows into San Francisco Bay from Bay Area industrial facilities. Baykeeper is cleaning up toxic industrial pollution to create a San Francisco Bay that is healthier for wildlife, safer for recreation, and more sustainable for all.