Inside SFS

Coast Cleanup Day… What Can I Do?

Here are some ways our Lower School Head, Maggie Weis, suggests to support our precious coast this Saturday and everyday!

Most of San Francisco has a combined sewer system that combines and treats both wastewater and stormwater prior to discharging into the Pacific Ocean or San Francisco Bay. However, parts of the city are served by separate storm sewer systems, where wastewater is transported and treated in one system and stormwater is transported through a separate system directly into receiving waters without treatment. These separate storm sewers are located on the outer edges of the city and can be found in Ocean Beach, Lake Merced, and Mission Bay. In these parts of the city, it is especially important to that only rain enters these storm drains.

Keep Pollutants Out of the System

Here are several ways you can prevent pollution in our storm drains:

1. Use less-toxic gardening products in your garden.

2.  Properly dispose of pesticides that remove outdoor pest.

3.  Dispose of household chemicals at a recycling center or household hazardous waste facility.

4. Always pick up your pet’s waste and throw the bagged waste in the trash.

5. Never litter, dispose of trash properly.

6. Remove some of the concrete in your front “yard” and plant a tree or make a rain garden.

7. Riding a bike or taking public transportation instead of driving to work can reduce the amount of harmful car exhaust pollutants from the street.

8. Attend a Coastal Clean-Up Day event.

9. Bring your car to a professional car washing facility since they capture all of the soapy runoff that may otherwise pollute local waters.

10. Rake up and clear the street in your own neighborhood to relieve the street drains of the waste that could either wash into the ocean or back up the stormwater basins.

“Every year, thousands of helium-filled balloons are released into the atmosphere. Some of these balloons are released accidentally, while others are released in large numbers during weddings, mall openings, and other kinds of celebrations…. Although the floating balloons seem to disappear, they ultimately lose their helium and fall back to earth. Some of these balloons come down on the ocean, where they can become a harmful form of marine debris. Some marine animals, especially sea turtles, have been known to ingest balloons. It is believed that they mistake balloons for jellyfish, their natural prey. The swallowed balloons can block air passages, causing the animals to suffocate, or may lodge in intestinal tracts, where they may disrupt digestion.” ( NOAA Marine Debris Program. “Turning the Tide of Trash: A Learning Guide on Marine Debris: Marine Debris 101,” 9.)

Thank you to each of your for doing your part to protect our coastlines.

Posted September 15, 2015