Taking Responsibility

At PG&E, we have a responsibility to be accountable for all of our actions, including protecting the environment. Our environmental commitment includes thoroughly evaluating sites throughout our service area that may have been impacted by our historical utility operations. We work collaboratively with our neighbors and the surrounding communities to address these sites in a manner that respects the individual needs of the community and minimizes disruptions to people who live, work or play in the area. Project details are shared with the community and we strive to respond to questions and concerns as quickly as possible.

Addressing Historic Gas Plant Sites

Working closely with state and local regulatory agencies, PG&E has a voluntary program to investigate and, where necessary, remediate former manufactured gas plant (MGP) sites that the company historically owned or operated. In the mid 1800s and early 1900s, before natural gas was available, utility companies nationwide operated these plants to convert coal and oil into gas for lighting, heating and cooking for local communities. Many of them closed 100 years ago, yet residues from the historical gas-making process may still remain at some sites. Today, PG&E is taking action to address these sites. It is important to note that there is no indication that any of PG&E's MGP sites pose any health concerns to the public, based on our testing, experience, and extensive review of medical literature.

Protecting Vital Resources

Our investigation and cleanup efforts continue to progress at the company's Hinkley and Topock natural gas compressor stations, where historical operations resulted in chromium affecting soil and groundwater. At Hinkley, PG&E continues to work under the direction of the Water Board on additional investigation activities as well as on a plan to complete the cleanup. A Community Advisory Committee has been formed to advise, share concerns and provide direct input to PG&E on its environmental and community programs in the area. Programs are also in place to provide bottled water, sample wells and purchase property from affected residents. At Topock, PG&E is working in coordination with the oversight agencies, neighboring Indian Tribes, property owners, and other stakeholders to design, build and implement a final groundwater cleanup remedy, which was approved by state and federal regulators in January 2011.

Transforming Former Utility Facilities

PG&E also has reached important milestones in its efforts to redevelop former utility facilities for reuse, which includes ongoing restoration of the former Hunters Point Power Plant site in San Francisco and converting a former geothermal waste facility in Lake County into wetlands, wildlife and tree plantations, which serve as an outdoor classroom for local science students.

Sustainable Remediation

In concert with its commitment to sustainability, PG&E has developed a Programmatic Sustainable Remediation Guidance Manual (PDF, 1.4 MB), which presents a dynamic roadmap and systematic approach for PG&E and its contractors to implement sustainable practices and principles throughout the entire lifecycle of PG&E remediation projects. The Guidance reflects a close collaboration with the California Environmental Protection Agency’s Depart of Toxic Substance Control (DTSC) and industry experts on sustainable remediation. It emphasizes implementation of sustainable best management practices and quantification of related benefits across environmental, social, and economic elements.

PG&E has conducted formal introduction and training for the Guidance to its project managers, as well as more broadly to both consulting and regulatory communities. Application of the Guidance and its principles has been in effect since 2010, resulting in significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and offsite solid and liquid waste disposal during remediation activities, while maximizing stakeholder satisfaction and boosts to economies local to PG&E remediation sites.

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