Tipster Reports Sludge Threatening the Bay

Apr 9, 2019

In Oakland’s Montclair area, a Baykeeper Pollution Hotline tipster spotted thick, muddy sludge running off a hillside construction site. She reported to us that the sludge was running into a storm drain that flows directly into Sausal Creek. 

Sausal Creek flows to the Oakland Estuary and San Francisco Bay. When too much mud gets into creeks and the Bay, it can sink to the bottom, harming the habitat of young and small bottom-dwelling creatures, such as insect larvae. The mud can also clog fish gills and interfere with fish growth and reproduction. 

Plus, mud running off a construction site can be contaminated with oil and heavy metals. Baykeeper Field Investigator Sienna Courter examined the report and photos, and recognized the construction sludge was a threat to the Bay. 

Sienna alerted the local enforcement agency about the sludge. The agency required the site operators to clean up the mess, keep the mud on the hillside, and implement controls to prevent future pollution. 

For example, the operators had to put filtering barriers called wattles around the storm drain to keep any future muddy runoff from reaching the creek and the Bay.

Baykeeper will check on the hillside when it rains to make sure that no more sludge is coming off the site.

People who report tips to Baykeeper’s Pollution Hotline can remain anonymous if they choose. But this tipster didn’t—she’s Deb Self, former Baykeeper Executive Director. 

If you see or suspect San Francisco Bay pollution, call Baykeeper's hotline at 1-800-KEEP-BAY (1-800-533-7229), e-mail hotline@baykeeper.org, or go to baykeeper.org/report.

Photo by Deb Self

 

Related Content

thumb
The Secret Ingredient
The traditional holiday season of thanks is taking on new flavor as I reflect on what Baykeeper has accomplished over this past year. There’s so much to be grateful for. We made it through the worst...
Keeping an Eye on the Bay by Land, Sea, and Air
Cole Burchiel came to Baykeeper after spending time as a park ranger in Vermont; he was hiking the Appalachian trail when he got the call to interview. Now Cole manages Baykeeper’s signature Bay...
The Case of the Missing Birds at Aquatic Park
Last fall, paddlers at Berkeley’s Aquatic Park noticed something wrong.  The water had become cloudy and oily, the normally plentiful fish and birds were nowhere to be seen, and the water level was...
Join us to hold polluters accountable and defend the Bay DONATE NOW >