SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – A new study shows urban runoff is dumping heavy loads of mercury, PCBs and other toxic chemicals into San Francisco Bay.

The annual report card of the San Francisco Estuary Institute concluded that storm water from areas around the nine-county region contribute more toxic pollution to San Francisco, San Pablo and Suisun bays than large rivers that carry agricultural runoff from the Central Valley.

Institute scientist Jay Davis told the San Francisco Chronicle that tests of striped bass from the bay last year found they contained mercury levels averaging .4 parts per million—twice the level considered safe for moderate consumption.

The runoff also carries more visible forms of pollution: trash such as plastic bags.

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Comments (3)
  1. del says:

    It’s a good thing I don’t moderatly consume Stripers. I am skeptical about the Urban runoff containing highlevels of Mercury. What’s the source(s)?

    The legacy mercury pollution from gold mining a over a century ago is most likely getting into the food chain up river and in the delta.

    I agree farm runoff is not as critical as urban pollution – 8-10mm people in a confined space are gonna do that. But attributing heavy metal pollution to storm drain runoff is a stretch.

  2. NRA Life Member says:

    San Francisco already has a program in place to handle this event. Anything that San Francisco does not like, they just ban it. So, San Francisco just needs to ban weather. Of course, that fixes everything, doesn’t it?