Contaminated Sites


Why Is This Important?
Contaminated sites are areas with ground pollution that can jeopardize public health, the environment, and the economy.   Ground contamination has been found on public and commercial land as well as in residential areas.  Contaminated sites are an economic liability as site cleanup can be costly and time consuming.  Contaminated sites are most common in larger cities with significant industrial or commercial activity and abandoned gasoline stations.  There are many sources of ground pollution including:

  • Leaking underground storage tanks containing gasoline, heating oil, or other potential contaminants
  • Chemical or sewage leaks
  • Hazardous material spills
  • Landfills

What Is a Sustainable State?
A sustainable state is one where the number of contaminated sites decreases to zero and no new cases of contamination occur.

How Are We Doing?
The California State Water Resources Control Board maintains a database of contaminated sites monitored by local and regional water boards.   For San Mateo County, the local authority is the San Francisco Regional Water Quality Control Board.  

  • At year end 2007, there were 507 contaminated sites in San Mateo County that are undergoing investigation, monitoring, and clean up.  The total number of contaminated sites has declined by 39 percent since 1998.

Data sources: California State Water Resources Control Board and the
San Francisco Regional Water Quality Control Board

 

  • South San Francisco, Redwood City, and the City of San Mateo had the highest number of contaminated sites.  However, in all three cities the number of contaminated sites has declined by between 28 and 40 percent since 1998.
  • Although the countywide total number of contaminated sites decreased from 2006, five cities (Burlingame, Daly City, East Palo Alto, Pacifica, and San Carlos) had more sites at the end of 2007 than the previous year, signifying newly contaminated or discovered sites.
  • Among the contaminated sites was one federal Superfund site, a location in East Palo Alto that was once home to a pesticide manufacturing plant.

Data sources: California State Water Resources Control Board and the San Francisco Regional Water Quality Control Board

 

See appendix page 73, CLICK HERE. Researcher: Flora Kaplan

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