What SLAC Does to Protect San
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
• 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
• Restoration and remedial action projects. The clean-up of
historic spills and contaminants is an important component of creek
• Stormwater monitoring. SLAC monitors the stormwater of two
storm events each year to gauge how well we are keeping pollutants out
• 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
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).