In addition to providing reliable and efficient disposal of wastewater, we are responsible for discharging effluent that will not harm the environment or human health. MVSD is one of the many Bay Area treatment plants that discharge into San Francisco Bay. In order to prevent pollution of that vital body of water, treatment plants including MVSD have established source control programs to keep pollutants originating in homes and small businesses out of the sewers.
Education is a key to the success of a source control program. Understanding why toxins require proper disposal means that people are less likely to pollute. MVSD publishes a newsletter that reaches every resident in the District with pollution prevention information and offers several environmental education programs for students.
The Household Hazardous Waste Collection Facility, a partnership of MVSD and Central Contra Costa Sanitary District, provides the public with an easy solution for disposing of household toxins. The Pollution Prevention Coordinator provides small businesses in the District with technical assistance to insure that they comply with local discharge limits for metals and other pollutants.
It has been proven that the source control/waste minimization approach to pollution prevention is the most cost effective as well as most successful method of reducing water pollution. Treatment plants are not designed to remove pollutants. With increased awareness and everyone’s help, the amounts of pollutants reaching San Francisco Bay are being reduced every year. Since 1992, sources of silver pollution such as photo and x-ray developers and printers have been almost eliminated from MVSD’s discharge. More recently, amounts of mercury reaching our treatment plant have decreased.
Contra Costa Green Business Program
The Green Business Program is a county wide partnership of agencies who have joined together to give recognition to businesses that comply with all environmental regulations and also take steps to conserve resources and prevent pollution. In addition to creating constructive relations between businesses, local agencies and the community, the program also helps businesses provide a safe, environmentally friendly and healthy workplace which may improve profitability. By undergoing the certification process, a business receives helpful compliance assistance from regulatory agencies and on-site audits by water, air and energy professionals.
Look for shops displaying the Green Business logo and support businesses that care for the environment.
For more information regarding the Green Business Program, visit their website at https://greenbusinessca.org/.
Fats, Oils & Grease Buildup
District employees report that grease buildup continues to be a problem in the sewer lines that the District maintains. The Collections Lead has been working with restaurants and other food services to be sure that they have grease interceptors that are adequately sized and maintained. Residences, however, are not equipped with devices to trap grease. Hot water used to flush grease down a sink cools farther down the line, allowing grease to solidify. Grease buildup can eventually block sewer lines. You can help out by pouring grease into a container, letting it cool and disposing of it in your trash. Grease that does make its way down sewer lines gradually builds up in our pump stations. Recently, over 1000 pounds of grease were removed from our pump station on Morello Ave. Small amounts accumulating from many homes can add up!
Mercury Source Control
The most obvious source of mercury is thermometers. It is also found in switches in thermostat control devices and fluorescent light bulbs. Because mercury is very toxic in small amounts and the treatment plant is not designed to remove mercury, it is crucial that mercury in any form be disposed of properly at the Household Hazardous Waste Collection Facility. There is no charge when you drop off your waste. Over the past three years, we have noticed a reduction in the amount of mercury that comes into the treatment plant.