In a breakthrough victory to protect San Francisco Bay from polluted runoff, Baykeeper secured a legally binding agreement requiring the city of San Jose to keep trash, sewage, and other pollution out of San Francisco Bay.
This is major progress and far beyond what San Jose was doing. In fact, it will make the Bay ecosystem—and the whole Bay Area—healthier and more sustainable.
Under our agreement, San Jose has committed to undertake a massive renovation of how the city deals with runoff. It will transform San Jose into a leader in containing pollution, fighting drought, and creating innovative infrastructure for healthier neighborhoods and waterways.
San Jose has had some of the highest levels of polluted runoff of any Bay Area city. During rainstorms, huge amounts of trash are washed into Guadalupe River and Coyote Creek, then into the Bay, endangering seals, birds, and other wildlife. Now San Jose will install new devices that collect trash from runoff before it reaches rivers and streams.
San Jose's runoff also contains high levels of raw sewage from leaky sewer pipes. This contamination can sicken people who spend time in or on the Bay. And it can harm fish that spawn and hatch in the river and creek, including salmon and steelhead. The city has agreed to upgrade its leaking sewer system and replace 65 miles of old, degraded sewer pipe.
And our agreement does much more to protect the Bay. Over the next 20 years, San Jose will invest in new infrastructure projects like:
- lining streets with special gutters that absorb rainwater and prevent runoff;
- capturing rainwater, filtering it, and storing it for later re-use; and
- replacing paved concrete surfaces with public park space.
These projects will not only reduce runoff pollution, but also capture rainwater, providing a water source during future drought. Plus, these projects will increase green space throughout San Jose.
Our agreement is a decisive victory for reducing one of San Francisco Bay's biggest problems—polluted runoff.
Photo by Robb Most