April 16, 2004  


What SLAC Does to Protect San Francisquito Creek

By Judy Fulton

The protection of San Francisquito Creek, which runs along most of the southern border of SLAC, is not the responsibility of any one person or organization. As noted in a previous article (The Interaction Point, February 20, 2004, http://www2.slac.stanford.edu/tip/2004/feb20/creek.htm), the issues and concerns are interrelated and overlapping and involve many different efforts. At SLAC the protection of the creek is not limited to one program or activity, but is part of a number of programs and, more importantly, is reflected in how each of us performs our job.

The confluence of San Francisquito Creek and Bear Creek. (Photo courtesy of Judy Fulton)


At the heart of the programs in place at SLAC to protect the creek is the minimization of any pollutant that could make its way into a storm drain:

Hazardous materials and waste management. Through the proper use, storage, and disposal of hazardous materials and waste, SLAC minimizes the source of pollutants (https://www-internal.slac.stanford.edu/esh/wm/).

Pollution prevention and waste minimization. Through thoughtful consideration of what materials to use, SLAC minimizes the toxicity and quantity of potential pollutants (https://www-internal.slac.stanford.edu/esh/wm/waste_minimization.htm).

Stormwater pollution prevention. By using ‘best management practices’ (BMPs), SLAC ensures that pollutants will not make their way into storm drains (http://www.slac.stanford.edu/esh/epr/Stormwater/stormwaterBMP.html).

Spill prevention. Through the quick response that comes from the careful planning contained in the Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasures Plan, SLAC can avoid releasing pollutants to a storm drain even in the event of a spill (http://www.slac.stanford.edu/esh/reference/SPCC.pdf).


The following are but a few of the ways that SLAC works to protect the creek

• Restoration and remedial action projects. The clean-up of historic spills and contaminants is an important component of creek protection.

Stormwater monitoring. SLAC monitors the stormwater of two storm events each year to gauge how well we are keeping pollutants out of runoff.

Secondary containment management. Making sure our containment systems act as our first line of defense in the case of a leak or spill and that only rain water makes it into a storm drain.

Erosion and sediment control. Sediment is a major pollutant and can have detrimental effects on wildlife in the creek. Controlling erosion and managing sediment is vital to reducing the flow of sediment to the creek.

Facility maintenance and housekeeping. Normal maintenance of structures, utilities, and roadways helps prevent pollution from such sources as chipped paint, leaking water, and eroding asphalt. It is housekeeping, however, that makes the biggest difference on the day-to-day minimization of pollutants. Sweeping up debris, using drop cloths and drip pans to catch potential pollutants, covering materials, or storing them inside are the big hitters in our efforts to protect the creek.

Each of us can make a difference by being mindful of these programs and activities. If you want to know more about how you can protect the creek, please contact Judy Fulton, Environmental Protection (Ext. 4538).



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Last update Tuesday April 13, 2004 by Emily Ball