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Delta Watch

Industrial Discharges

More than 150 commercial operations, such as mining and other industrial facilities are currently permitted to discharge process wastewater in and upstream of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay Delta. These facilities release as much as 5 million gallons of wastewater each day and have a significant impact on delta water quality, the ecosystem and its fisheries. Industrial sites are also a major source of storm-water runoff. Industrial materials such as fuel, oil and debris are carried by storm runoff from these facilities into the heart of the Delta and upstream water ways.

Thousands of abandoned mines also litter the California landscape. Many of these mines are in the Sierra foothills and mountains and discharge harmful chemicals such as mercury, chromium, cyanide and asbestos that can pollute drinking water and harm fish and habitat. Runoff from these mines continues to contaminate Delta watersheds and downstream environments and contributes to unsafe mercury levels in fish.

“It is clear these abandoned mines pose a threat to public health and safety – and they must be cleaned up”
-U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein

Finally, a federal judge recently ruled that the U.S. Department of Transportation Maritime Administration (MARAD) is illegally polluting and storing hazardous waste in the San Francisco Bay. MARAD is in charge of 70 decaying naval vessels stored in Suisun Bay, which are discharging toxic heavy metals into the Delta. An estimated 20 tons of heavy metals including lead, zinc, copper and cadmium have already fallen, blown or washed off the ships, according to the Federal government’s own analysis. Unless cleaned up they could shed an additional 50 tons into the Delta.

Fishing group says Redding dump polluting creek (July 7, 2010) Record Searchlight

Ghost Fleet contaminating bay...federal government finally takes action (Apr. 2, 2010)

Federal Ghost Fleet Illegally Polluting San Francisco Bay (Jan. 25, 2010) Environmental News Service

Senator Feinstein: Abandoned mines pose threats (Dec. 6, 2009) San Bernardino Sun

Agencies sued over Delta species (June 4, 2009) Stockton Record

Press Release - Federal Agencies Sued for ESA Violations - Agency Actions Harmful to Listed Species (June 3, 2009)

- Amended Complaint re: ESA Violations

Port of Stockton Tenants Pollute Impaired San Joaquin River (Jan. 27, 2009) Environmental News Service