Stormwater Control Programs to Address PCBs and Mercury
Sport fish monitoring in San Francisco Bay has revealed bioaccumulation of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), mercury, and other pollutants at levels thought to pose a human health risk. Local subsistence fishers and their families are of particular concern. As a result, the State of California has issued an advisory on the consumption of sport fish from the Bay and developed Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) water quality restoration programs targeting PCBs and mercury. The general goals of the TMDLs are to identify pollutant sources, implement actions to eliminate or control the sources, and restore water quality in the Bay. The draft revised Municipal Regional Permit (MRP) 2.0 includes a provision that requires Permittees to demonstrate cumulative Bay Area-wide PCBs load reductions over the permit term. This presentation will discuss three major control measure programs that Permittees will be implementing during the MRP 2.0 permit term: 1) Source Property Identification and Abatement, 2) Green Infrastructure/Treatment Controls, and 3) Management of PCB-Containing Building Materials during Demolition. The ongoing Source Property Identification and Abatement program involves investigations of properties located in the historically industrial land use areas where PCBs were used, released, and/or disposed of in order to identify potential source properties for referral to the Water Board or other authority for clean-up and abatement. The investigation includes research, reconnaissance and field sampling phases. Several such properties have already been identified and referred to the Water Board. Further investigation will also be conducted to determine if soils/sediment with significantly elevated PCB concentrations are present in significant quantities in the street and/or storm drain adjacent to the identified source property and, if so, implement interim enhanced O&M measures, where appropriate, including measures to prevent any ongoing mobilization and off-site transport of significant quantities of sediment from the site. The reissued permit will require Permittees to implement green infrastructure and treatment measure projects to help achieve targeted PCBs load reductions. These include projects implemented during new development and redevelopment, generally on private properties, and retrofit of existing infrastructure in public right-of-way areas and on public properties. The reissued permit will require development of a program to manage PCBs in building materials during demolition. Applicable projects include commercial and industrial structures constructed or remodeled between the years 1950 and 1980, and wood frame structures are exempt. Given the large standing stock of PCBs known to be present in certain buildings in the Bay Area, there may potentially be significant benefits to implementing the proposed control program. However, data are lacking regarding the amount of PCBs-containing materials that are released to the ground during demolition and then mobilized into the MS4 by urban runoff, making it challenging to project with any certainty the actual benefit of this program. The presentation will include several speakers, including stormwater program and Permittee staff. The presentation will include interactive methods to engage audience participation such as asking questions, neighbor chats, surveys, raising of hands, thinking exercises, and telling stories that the audience can relate to. This presentation will address the conference theme by highlighting the ongoing progress in TMDL implementation in the Bay Area. This presentation is intended follow the introductory presentation entitled “TMDL Implementation and Load Reduction Accounting through the San Francisco Bay Area Regional Municipal Stormwater Permit.”
Lisa Austin, P.E., is an Associate with Geosyntec Consultants in Oakland, California. She has 25 years of experience in water quality and stormwater management planning. Lisa’s professional experience has given her the unique perspective of being both a regulator, a permittee, and a consultant (although not all at the same time). Ms. Austin has also served on the CASQA Board of Directors.