CHAPTER 4 - Enviromental Programs


--CALL 723-0593 OR 725-7864

[Adverse impacts on air, surface water, soil, and groundwater are managed through the Environmental Programs Division at EH&S]

When hazardous materials and hazardous wastes are improperly managed, they may be released to the outside environment. Obvious examples include: chemical spills entering the sink, soapy mop water being dumped down a storm drain, or overfilling a generator so that diesel fuel spills onto the ground. All impacts to Stanford's surface water, air, soil, and groundwater are addressed by the environmental programs at EH&S in cooperation with administrative and academic departments. In addition, EH&S implements programs to prevent and/or minimize environmental impacts. Several local and regional agencies regulate environmental contamination. These include: City of Palo Alto, Santa Clara County Health Department (SCCHD), Santa Clara Valley Water District (SCVWD), Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB), and Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD).


[Under local air quality rules, certain stationary sources of air emissions will require air quality permits to operate]

EH&S is designing an air quality program in accordance with the Bay Area Air Quality Management District's (BAAQMD) rules and regulations. EH&S is currently inventorying all potential stationary sources of air emissions. Specifically, this includes stationary equipment which vent or emit odorous, visible, or hazardous substances to the outside air. Once all known sources are inventoried at Stanford, some of the equipment may require a permit to operate under BAAQMD regulations. EH&S will be working with the individual equipment operators during the permitting process.

[Toxic air contaminants will come under much closer scrutiny]

Also, due to the 1990 Federal Clean Air Act, toxic air contaminants will be under closer scrutiny. Currently, the Environmental Protection Agency lists 189 toxic air contaminants-many of which are found at Stanford. The final implications to Stanford are still under review.


[High quality drinking water comes to Stanford primarily from Hetch Hetchy]

Stanford consumers receive drinking water primarily from the Hetch Hetchy reservoir in Yosemite National Park. Stanford buys the Hetch Hetchy water from the San Francisco Municipal Water Department. Stanford also has source wells on campus available. The goal of both the San Francisco Water Department and the University is to provide the highest quality drinking water to consumers here at Stanford.

[Utilities regularly monitor drinking water quality]

Stanford University Utilities Department, in accordance with the requirements of Title 22 of the California Code of Regulations, implement a routine drinking water sampling program campus-wide for all drinking water. Samples are analyzed for primary standards which apply to the protection of public health and secondary standards which refer to the aesthetic qualities of water such as color, odor and turbidity. The results of drinking water sampling are reported annually to the Stanford community and monthly to the Department of Health Services.


[Domestic sewage and wastewater from Stanford is discharged under permit to Palo Alto's treatment plant and is then discharged into the Bay]

In August of 1992, Stanford University and Stanford University Hospital were issued Industrial Wastewater Discharge Permits by the City of Palo Alto, which operates the Regional Water Quality Control Plant (RWQCP). These permits allow Stanford to discharge domestic sewage and wastewater from operations and laboratory processes under stringent limitations to the Palo Alto sanitary sewer collection system. All the wastewater is then treated by the RWQCP before being discharged to the south San Francisco Bay.

The RWQCP is issued a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit by the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCP). The NPDES Permit specifies effluent limitations to the south San Francisco Bay. The RWQCP, in turn, issues permits to organizations and industries in their service area (six communities) in order to assure compliance with the NPDES Permit limits.

[Wastewater is sampled routinely for hazardous materials]

As a condition of this permit, Stanford must analyze wastewater for hazardous parameters at representative points around campus. This is currently done monthly at major research buildings. The intent of the wastewater sampling and analysis program is to assure that Stanford is not disposing of hazardous waste via the sanitary sewer system.

[Heavy metal discharges are a serious concern because of their harmful impacts on wildlife and humans-avoid heavy metal discharges]

Although all hazardous waste is subject to scrutiny, the RWQCP is particularly concerned about heavy metals such as: cadmium, chromium, copper, lead, nickel, zinc, mercury, and silver. The RWQCP can only remove about 75% of the metals received in the influent. The remaining metals are discharged to the Bay and studies have shown that they have deleterious effects on wildlife. The utmost care should be taken to assure that these metals do not enter the sanitary sewer system.

* If you are grinding, cutting, or etching heavy metals, contain the rinsate water or install a strainer to capture metal sediment. All the waste, including rinsate water, should be disposed of through the EH&S Chemical Waste Program.

* Low volume aqueous solutions containing heavy metals should be disposed of through EH&S-even if the metal concentration is low. Stanford's wastewater has shown levels of toxic organics (primarily halogenated solvents, such as chloroform, and methylene chloride) and phenol in excess of permitted levels. These problems are currently under investigation and many have been corrected. It is possible that aspirator use without proper (dry ice) traps may be contributing to these problems.


[Contaminated storm water runoff from Stanford is minimized]

Stanford University and Stanford University Hospital have joined the General National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permit, regulating the discharge of storm water. This permit is required by the Federal Clean Water Act and Environmental Protection Agency regulations, and is adopted by the California State Water Resources Control Board, and at the local level by the Santa Clara Valley Water District (SCVWD) and San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB). The primary purpose of the permit is to minimize pollutants that enter storm drain system through better management controls, since Stanford's storm water discharge flows directly into San Francisquito and Matadero Creeks, and into the Bay, without receiving any treatment. The accumulation of pollutants in the South Bay has impacted wildlife and water quality.

The NPDES Permit requires Stanford to: POLLUTION * Develop and implement a Storm Water Pollution PREVENTION Prevention Plan which includes Best Management Practices to minimize storm water pollutants. The plan will address the activities of the University, Hospital, and the contiguous area under Stanford's operational management. Specifically, Best Management Practices include:

POLLUTION - Containment of materials to avoid contact with the MONITORING storm drain system;

- Recycling or reusing materials;

- Disposing of materials to the sanitary sewer in accordance with Stanford's Industrial Wastewater Discharge Permit;

- Disposing of hazardous waste through the EH&S Chemical Waste Program.

* Initiate a monitoring program which requires visual inspection, recordkeeping, sample analyses and annual reports to the RWQCB.

The General NPDES permit requires that the Pollution Prevention Program be implemented as soon as possible. All non-storm water discharges must be eliminated no later than July 1, 1993. This allows time to address structural changes, equipment installation, and other costly measures.

[Primary concern areas are loading docks, construction projects, and food service areas]

The immediate areas of concern are loading docks, construction projects, food service facilities, or any activity that results in non-stormwater runoff to the storm drain system. Through better management practices in these areas, pollutants can be eliminated from Stanford's storm drain system.

Best Management Practices for Minimizing Storm Water Pollution at Stanford


Employees and residents alike should:

* Properly use and store all hazardous materials, inluding cleaners, solvents, pesticides, and fertilizers. Any chemicals stored outside must be in secondary containment.

* Re-use or recycle materials.

* Have cars inspected and maintained regularly to reduce emissions and leakage of oil, antifreeze, and other fluids. Recycle used motor oil.

* Volunteer to paint "No Dumping - Flows To Bay" logos on Stanford storm drains. Call 725-7864 for more information.

* Use a broom rather than a hose to clean up lawn and garden clippings. Deposit clippings in a trash can or compost pile.

* Sweep paved areas rather than hosing them off.

* Divert rain spouts and garden runoff from paved surfaces onto grass.

* Do not discharge anything to the storm drain. Employees should:

* Dispose of all hazardous waste through the EH&S Chemical Waste Program. Report all spills and leaks immediately to EH&S at 723-0448. Contain spills and leaks with absorbent materials and dispose of absorbent materials appropriately.

Residents should:

* Dispose of household hazardous waste by contacting the Santa Clara County Department of Envrionmental Health, Household Hazardous Waste Program at (408) 299-7300. Due to permit restrictions, EH&S cannot accept household hazardous waste at the Environmental Safety Facility. The City of Palo Alto sponsors household hazardous waste collection events, but Stanford residents are not allowed to participate.

* Visit a commercial car wash facility or wash cars over a lawn or dirt area. Use water sparingly with biodegradable soap. Any soapy residue must be discharged to the sanitary sewer.


Stanford University has both ongoing soil contamination problems and a few past incidents which are currently being remediated and/or monitored. If soil contamination is not cleaned up, the contaminants can migrate down through the soil and into the groundwater. There is currently one site at Stanford undergoing both soil and groundwater remeditation due to previous underground fuel storage tanks that leaked. The Santa Clara Valley Water District (SCVWD) and Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB) are the primary regulatory agencies responsible for soil and groundwater contamination, although the Santa Clara Department of Health Services is also involved.

[Diesel spills, dumped motor oil, and leaking underground fuel tanks all contribute to soil and underground water contamination at Stanford]

Recent examples of soil contamination include: diesel spills due to overfilled generators, used motor oil dumped onto the ground, and leaking underground fuel tanks. All hazardous materials, including petroleum products, should be disposed of through EH&S. If any hazardous materials should spill onto the ground, EH&S' Emergency Response Team should be notified immediately at 723-0448.

[Recently discovered fuel tanks on campus should be reported to EH&S]

Furthermore, as fuel tanks are a significant cause of soil contamination, all tanks that are discovered on campus should be reported to the EH&S Environmental Programs Division at 723-0593. There are ten known fuel tanks in use-all of which either have secondary containment or are monitored monthly as required by the California State Underground Storage Tank regulations and by the Santa Clara County Hazardous Materials Storage Ordinance. Home heating oil tanks and tanks left over from previous activities occasionally turn up; many times these tanks have corroded and leaked their contents into the soil.

[Use secondary containment when carrying or transferring hazardous chemicals-even common ones like motor oil]

In order to prevent spills onto the ground, secondary containment should always be used-especially with generators and car maintenance activities. Secondary containment should also be used when transporting chemicals across campus.