Environmental Restoration Activities at Compressor Station Properties
PG&E’s natural gas distribution system includes more than 40,000 miles of distribution pipelines and over 6,000 miles of transportation pipelines, working together to provide service to approximately 4.2 million customers from Bakersfield to the Oregon border. Essential to the system are eight gas compressor stations, which receive, store and move natural gas through the company’s pipelines. Nearly 40 percent of PG&E’s natural gas supply enters the system at our Topock compressor station, located 15 miles southeast of Needles, California.
The first two compressor stations on the line, Topock and Hinkley, began operating in the early 1950s. An additive containing hexavalent chromium was used at both facilities to prevent rust in the cooling towers that prepared the gas for transportation through PG&E’s pipeline to northern and central California. Consistent with industry practices of the time, cooling water containing this additive was disposed of adjacent to the compressor stations. Later the water was treated to remove the chromium before disposal. The use of hexavalent chromium has long since been discontinued at both Topock and Hinkley.
Under the direction of state and federal regulatory agencies and with input from numerous stakeholders, PG&E is working to investigate, clean up and restore the environment at both the Topock and Hinkley facilities.