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AQUA TERRA Services Used to Support New California Law

Governor Schwarzenegger signed into law Senate Bill (SB) 346. This powerful legislation phases out copper from vehicle brake pads to make the state’s urban waterways safer for salmon and other species, save cities billions of dollars in potential environmental cleanup costs, and enable manufacturers to provide safe, reliable brakes for drivers.

The bill was born from an unusual 15-year collaborative effort led by Sustainable Conservation to understand and address the environmental impacts of brake pad debris generated during the use of motor vehicles. Environmental organizations, stormwater agencies, and the vehicle and brake manufacturing industries worked together to study the science and agree on a practical way to stop this form of water pollution at the source while providing drivers with safe, reliable brakes.

AQUA TERRA developed the watershed model that was used to examine the potential impact of copper from brake pad wear debris (BPWD) released to the environment in the San Francisco (SF) Bay Region. Modeling results provided runoff loads to the Bay modeling effort to assess resulting concentrations in SF Bay.

All stakeholders supported the final legislation, which represents a truly momentous agreement -- a victory for clean water and aquatic creatures and a victory for the businesses that provide brakes for the cars and trucks we all depend on.