Company fined for releasing hundreds of red balloons that landed in Bay

A marketing company has been fined $7,000 for releasing hundreds of red balloons that ended up in the San Francisco Bay last March, water quality officials announced today.

TrashTalkFCM had organized the release of 10,000 balloons at San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Gardens on March 2 as part of a promotion for a video game being debuted at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco.

The company had expected the balloons to rise high enough into the atmosphere that they would disintegrate into tiny pieces, but weather conditions that day caused hundreds of the balloons to drift into the Bay, creating a hazard to birds and aquatic life.

TrashTalkFCM, which has offices in San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York, agreed to the settlement with the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board and signed it Monday after a 30-day public comment period, according to the water board.

The company, which assumed sole responsibility for the incident and cooperated with the cleanup and investigation, now has 30 days to pay the fine, according to water quality officials.

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