Taking responsibility for our environmental practices
Upholding our commitment to communities
PG&E’s environmental commitment includes carefully evaluating and addressing contamination resulting from our historic operations and those of our predecessor companies dating as far back as the mid to late-1800s. Our goal is to remediate historic impacts by using innovative technical approaches and best practices for engaging local communities. As part of this commitment, we:
- Carefully and frequently evaluate sites in our service area that our past operations may have affected
- Engage local and cultural communities in the cleanup process
- Use scientific and sustainable remediation practices and technologies that minimize impacts to the environment and local community
- Share project details regularly and respond quickly to community questions and concerns
Addressing historic gas plant sites
Before natural gas was available, utility plants across the nation converted coal and oil into gas. Although many of these gas plants closed over a century ago, some locations still contain residues in soil and/or groundwater from this process as it was common practice at the time to bury residues underground.
Today, PG&E is taking action to address our former Manufactured Gas Plants (MGPs) voluntarily under the oversight of state agencies such as the California Department of Toxic Substances Control or Regional Water Quality Control Boards as well as local agencies. Our MGP program includes a strong community education and outreach component that strives to minimize impacts while benefitting the communities we work in.
Protecting our vital resources
Working in cooperation with regulatory agencies and interested stakeholders, PG&E continues to remediate chromium-6 in groundwater resulting from historical operations at the Hinkley and Topock Compressor Stations. For an overview, visit Compressor Stations. For details about a specific station, visit:
Restoring our former utility facilities
In the course of serving California’s energy needs over the decades, historic operations resulted in potential contamination to soil and groundwater at some of our utility facilities. We are committed to protecting these resources through voluntary and proactive environmental investigations and cleanups at affected sites.
Performed with oversight from federal, state and local agencies, PG&E is addressing impacts by remediating soil and groundwater at power plants the company formerly owned and operated, substations and natural gas gathering stations. We are also disposing of underground storage tanks, cleaning and closing former landfill sites containing energy exploration wastes, ensuring our facilities are free of mercury, removing hazardous materials in old utility facilities, and restoring former treatment sites. Visit the following for specific project details:
- PG&E Potrero Power Plant where we are working closely with the Port of San Francisco and the current property owner to remediate soil and groundwater impacts.
- Shell Pond Site where we are proposing to use vegetation to help breakdown contaminants found in a former wastewater treatment site in Bay Point, California.
Guiding sustainable remediation
Developed in collaboration with DTSC and industry experts, PG&E uses a Programmatic Sustainable Remediation Guidance Manual (PDF, 1.42 MB) to employ sustainable best management practices and principles throughout the entire lifecycle of remediation projects. Practices include using proven, innovative technologies to reduce greenhouse gas impacts, hiring construction workers and sourcing vendors locally, and recycling as much material as possible.
Through the application of these principles, PG&E reduced its cumulative greenhouse gas emissions by roughly 730 metric tons and reduced liquid wastes by an estimated 6,681,000 million gallons in 2018 alone. We also spent more than $6 million in our local communities while completing cleanup activities. PG&E regularly conducts formal sustainable practice training for project managers. We also extend training to consulting and regulatory communities.
Engaging our Stakeholders
Stakeholder engagement is an integral component of our approach to remediation. We communicate with elected officials, local businesses, community groups and residents early and often to promote awareness, solicit feedback and develop strategies to further minimize impacts to the greatest extent possible. We partner on initiatives that serve our communities from hiring locally unemployed residents, to coordinating property dispositions concurrent with remediation efforts, to partnering with local schools and nonprofits helping students learn more about stewardship and restoring the natural environment. Finally, we share best practices and benchmark our efforts against other energy companies and industries, such as the Manufactured Gas Plant Consortium, a peer group of remediation experts from gas providers across the nation.