The East Bay Municipal Utility District has agreed to pay a $816,000 penalty for discharging 16.5 million gallons of partially treated wastewater into the San Francisco Bay, the water board announced on Monday. 

The discharge flowed from the district’s Point Isabel Wet Weather Facility to Richmond Inner Harbor in the bay in October of 2021. The wastewater was released during a major rainstorm, according to the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board, which approved the settlement. 

The discharge contained chlorine at concentrations toxic to aquatic life, officials said. The district had run out of the chemical used to remove chlorine prior to the release. 

It will pay $379,000 to the State Water Pollution Cleanup and Abatement Account and another $408,000 on a supplemental environmental project. 

The settlement, which was finalized on Friday, allowed a $29,000 credit for stipulated penalties that the district paid to resolve violations of a 2014 federal consent decree, the water board said, which established additional requirements for chlorinated discharges from the facility. 

“This enforcement serves as a reminder to always be prepared,” said Thomas Mumley, of the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board. “The reliable operation of our wastewater infrastructure is critical, particularly in light of the increasingly severe winter storms we are experiencing due to climate change.”

Katy St. Clair, Bay City News

Katy St. Clair got her start in journalism by working in the classifieds department at the East Bay Express during the height of alt weeklies, then sweet talked her way into becoming staff writer, submissions editor, and music editor. She has been a columnist in the East Bay Express, SF Weekly, and the San Francisco Examiner. Starting in 2015, she begrudgingly scaled the inverted pyramid at dailies such as the Vallejo Times-Herald, The Vacaville Reporter, and the Daily Republic. She has her own independent news site and blog that covers the delightfully dysfunctional town of Vallejo, California, where she also collaborates with the investigative team at Open Vallejo. A passionate advocate for people with developmental disabilities, she serves on both the Board of the Arc of Solano and the Arc of California. She lives in Vallejo.