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Manufactured Gas Plants

Former San Rafael Manufactured Gas Plant

PG&E is working to address environmental impacts at the three-acre site of a former manufactured gas plant (MGP) at 999 3rd Street in downtown San Rafael, California. The MGP operated from 1875 to 1930, and was placed on standby status until 1960. As was common practice at the time, when the plant was dismantled some byproducts and structures from gas-making operations were left underground at the site. In 1965, PG&E constructed an office building for the North Bay Division offices which were occupied until the late 1990s. Today, PG&E uses the site for storage and the San Rafael Business Improvement District leases the on-site parking. This site is part of a larger 17-acre property that was investigated and remediated in the 1980s. PG&E sold a large portion of that property in 1998 and it has since been redeveloped as a business park. Ongoing monitoring confirms that the remediation continues to be effective for treating affected groundwater and protecting human health and the environment.

In spring 2015, PG&E will begin additional environmental cleanup work at the 999 3rd Street site as part of a company-wide program to remediate former MGP sites. This work will address remaining underground structures and impacted soil and is being overseen by the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) and the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control (Water Board). This cleanup project is an important step in allowing future property redevelopment. During this work, PG&E will excavate impacted soil and backfill those areas with clean soil. Area residents and businesses may experience some short-term noise and vibrations typical of heavy construction work as well as an increase in area truck traffic. Activities will be coordinated with nearby businesses and the City of San Rafael to limit community impacts to the greatest extent possible.

Soil being removed contains byproducts from historic gas making operations and its removal may create some short-term odors similar to petroleum, mothballs or roofing tar. To minimize odors and dust, a variety of standard techniques will be implemented, including the application of water, odor suppressants, and covering piles and surfaces with plastic sheeting. Additional techniques to reduce odors and dust include limiting the size of excavations and using a temporary enclosure to create a negative pressure space to facilitate air filtering. Air monitoring will be conducted along the perimeter of the property during all soil removal activities. If monitors report that we are approaching a pre-established threshold, PG&E will stop work, assess the situation and take appropriate steps to further control dust to stay within all regulatory requirements set by the California Environmental Protection Agency to protect public health.

PG&E will continue to keep the community informed about this project through fact sheets, work notices and other outreach, as appropriate.

Additional Resources:

Site-related documents, including the draft RAP, can also be found at:
San Rafael Public Library, Reference Desk, 1100 E Street, San Rafael (415-485-3323)

All MGP Locations
Chico Oakdale San Rafael
Colusa Oakland Santa Cruz
Daly City Oroville Santa Rosa
Eureka Red Bluff Selma
Fresno - 1 Redding St. Helena
Fresno - 2 Redwood City Stockton
Hollister Sacramento -1 Tracy
Lodi Salinas Turlock
Madera San Francisco - Adjacent To Potrero Vallejo
Marysville - 1 San Francisco - Beach Street Watsonville - 1
Merced San Francisco - Fillmore Watsonville - 2
Modesto - 1 San Francisco - North Beach Willows
Monterey San Francisco - Potrero Woodland
Napa San Luis Obispo - 1