Short Circuiting Pollution to the Bay

Oct 13, 2020

The Bay is literally surrounded by polluters of all shapes and sizes.

Approximately 1,600 industrial facilities line the Bay and its tributaries. In the absence of pollution controls, these companies dump contaminants into storm drains, creeks, streets, and San Francisco Bay. So every year, our science team conducts an in-depth analysis of pollution sampling results to identify—and stop—the worst offenders.

Earlier this year, our analysis found that the circuit board manufacturer TTM Technologies was releasing extremely high levels of heavy metals and nitrogen into the Santa Clara stormwater system that feeds into the Guadalupe River, Alviso Slough, and San Francisco Bay. Nitrogen can cause depleted oxygen levels and algae blooms, and heavy metals are highly toxic to people and wildlife.

So we sued TTM for its violations of the Clean Water Act.

With the resulting settlement agreement, the company has committed to install robust pollution controls, including filters and catchments. TTM is also required to closely monitor its runoff to ensure that its pollution controls are working effectively.

In addition, TTM will pay $24,000 to the Rose Foundation for Communities & the Environment to compensate for its past pollution. The Rose Foundation will use the funds for community nonprofit projects that benefit the Bay-Delta watershed.

And Baykeeper will continue to keep a close eye on TTM and all the industrial sites that pose a threat to San Francisco Bay.

Pictured: Alviso in the South Bay by Peter Thoeny, Flickr/CC

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