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Polis Report

Bay Watch

By Richard Sine

Quick, who's the worst polluter in the San Francisco Bay?

We can't blame corporate America anymore. Now an estimated 80 percent of bay pollution comes from seemingly harmless everyday activities by regular folks.

Water flowing down our sink drains and toilets is treated to remove much of the waste. But water from sidewalk storm drains heads directly into one of the County's 130 creeks or the bay. Oil, antifreeze, rust, chlorine, even leaves and dog poop shouldn't go down there.

Many locals don't get it. In a recent survey, county residents said bay pollution was the county's most serious environmental problem. But over half either believed that storm drain water is treated or didn't know. Less than a fifth realize that soapy water (even the stuff labeled "nontoxic") shouldn't go down storm drains.

A few tips:

  • Use a commercial car wash. If you wash your car outside, direct soapy water to an unpaved surface--soaking partially "cleans" the water.

  • Sweep, don't hose off, driveways and sidewalks. Clean oil and grease spots using a dry absorbent, let sit several hours, then bag.

  • Don't overuse pesticides and don't overwater; both increase hazardous runoff. Never use garden pesticides when it's going to rain the next day.

  • Repair your leaking car. The residue gets washed into storm drains by rain or street washing.

    For more detailed tips call the Nonpoint Source Pollution Control Program at 927-0710.

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  • From the October 3-9, 1996 issue of Metro

    This page was designed and created by the Boulevards team.
    Copyright © 1996 Metro Publishing, Inc.

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