Trump Says Needles And Waste From SF Are EPA Violation

Holly Quan
September 19, 2019 - 9:29 am
Golden Gate Bridge

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Aboard Air Force One, President Donald Trump issued a final verbal attack on San Francisco at the end of a three-day trip that carried him to California and New Mexico. 

The Environmental Protection Agency would hit San Francisco with a violation notice because of used needles and waste from the city that pollutes the ocean, Trump said on Wednesday. 

City officials and conservationists say that it's a ridiculous claim. 

There are sewage plants in the Bayview and near Ocean Beach that filter out debris and treat the water from the sewer system before it flows in to the Pacific Ocean or San Francisco Bay. 

"There is no indication, as far as I can tell, the EPA is going to charge them with anything," said Save the Bay Executive Director David Lewis. 

The EPA in fact recently renewed the city's permit to operate those sewage treatment plants, he said. "Basically, certifying that they are not putting pollutants into the bay or the ocean that they shouldn't be."

Mayor London Breed said there's no debris reaching either body of water. 

However, San Francisco's own website says in really rainy weather, storage boxes built under the street may fill up and discharge into the Bay. There are an average of 10 discharges a year. 94% of that is stormwater which means 6% is something else.  

EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler declined on Thursday to talk to reporters about any enforcement action.