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County-supported research has led to State law protecting water quality by phasing out use of copper in vehicle brake pads.

Brake Pads & Water Quality

County-supported research leads to State law protecting water quality

Copper from vehicle brake pads washes off roadways into waterways, where it can impact fish and other aquatic life. The Alameda Countywide Clean Water Program (ACCWP) has been championing scientific studies of the sources and effects of copper in our waterways for 15 years. The results of these studies culminated in a new State law, SB 346, that requires brake pad manufacturers to begin phasing out the use of copper from vehicle brake pad manufacturing. Preventing this important source of copper from reaching waterways is more sustainable and cost-effective than trying to remove copper from the water.

ACCWP is a consortium of 14 Alameda County cities, the Alameda County Flood Control District and Zone 7 Water District as well as unincorporated Alameda County. ACCWP actively participated in a unique and innovative partnership among government, industry and environmentalists that used the studies to advocate for passage of SB346. In addition to protecting water quality, these studies helped the County negotiate with the Regional Water Quality Control Board in the development of the recently-adopted Municipal Regional Stormwater Permit that covers Alameda County and four other Bay Area counties.