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Bay Pollution Prevention Program

Bay Polution Prevention Program - Spill Prevention
Only rain is allowed down the storm drain
Spill Response
Scrubbing and cleaning a section of pavement affected by a spill
Bay Polution Prevention Program - Construction
Storm drain in a construction zone protected with straw wattle and catch basin insert
Secondary Containment
Hazardous waste drums stored in proper secondary containment


Jennifer Acton

Kris Nipple

Brian Kuhn

SFO’s Bay Pollution Prevention Program (BPPP) is responsible for ensuring that pollutants generated on SFO property do not enter the San Francisco Bay (Bay) through the storm water drainage system.  If allowed to enter storm drain catch basins, pollutants such as oil, fuel, paint, lavatory waste and sediment/debris from construction activities can eventually end up in the Bay, which can then be detrimental to the health of aquatic vegetation, animals/marine life and potentially even humans. 

BPPP incorporates the following prevention strategies:

  • Conducting routine tenant inspections to ensure that all on site chemicals are properly stored and spill response kits are available.
  • Working with contractors to implement practices to prevent the following substances from entering storm drains:
    • sediment runoff
    • waste from concrete washout activities
    • hazardous chemicals associated with construction activities. 
  • Coordinating spill response operations and reporting incidents to regulatory agencies.
  • Documenting and investigating spills or illicit discharges to discover their origin and cause and implementing measures to prevent them from occurring in the future.
  • Providing pollution prevention outreach and education materials to Airport staff and tenants.  This includes in-person training as well as the Storm Water Pollution Prevention and Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure training videos.
  • Educating food and beverage tenants about the proper disposal of fats, oils, and grease (FOG).

One of the main ways the Airport helps protect the Bay is through the operation of the Mel Leong Treatment Plant (MLTP), which treats all sanitary and industrial wastewater flows on the Airport campus, as well as the “first flush” of rainfall collected in the Airport’s storm water system. The MLTP’s Industrial Plant is designed to treat 1.2 million gallons per day (MGD) of industrial wastewater from areas such as maintenance shops and vehicle washing facilities, as well as the first flush of storm water runoff from areas where industrial activities take place. A set of detention basins with a combined 9.6 million gallon capacity, 9 storm water outfalls, and multiple pump stations allow storm water to be treated at the MLTP, stored for later treatment, or released to the Bay during periods of heavy rain. The MLTP’s Sanitary Plant is designed to treat 2.2 MGD of sanitary wastewater from both aircraft and Airport facilities, including terminal restrooms, hangars, restaurants, etc. View the PDF icon2018 Sewer System Management Plan

The industrial and sanitary wastewater collection systems are operated and maintained according to the Airport’s Sewer System Management Plan (SSMP). The SSMP has been approved by the Airport Commission, and is updated annually to ensure the safe and reliable operation the collection systems. View the PDF iconNPDES Permit

Storm DrainStorm Water Pollution Prevention
Since all storm drains have the potential to flow directly to the Bay, Airport employees must stay vigilant to prevent storm water contamination.  The BPPP continuously works with tenants and Airport personnel to develop and implement pollution prevention strategies.

More on storm water pollution prevention ›

Spill PreventionSpill Prevention
The BPPP works directly with tenants and Airport personnel to promote and implement proper spill prevention strategies and best management practices.
If a hazardous substance spill occurs, the BPPP works directly with tenants and Airport personnel to ensure that proper procedures are followed when responding to such an event.
Fats, oils and grease (FOG) generated by food preparation activities can create significant pipe blockages if allowed to enter the sewer system. The BPPP works directly with food service facilities and Airport personnel to ensure that FOG is disposed of properly.
The BPPP works directly with outside contractors and Airport personnel to minimize or eliminate adverse environmental impacts associated with construction activities.
In an effort to conserve valuable resources, the Airport produces recycled water for activities including irrigation, street sweeping, dust control, and wastewater treatment.