PG&E Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Report 2018

PG&E Chapter 11 Update

Historic Impacts

Through our environmental remediation program, PG&E works to address any and all contamination that has resulted from the historic operations of Pacific Gas and Electric Company and its predecessor companies dating as far back as the mid- to late-1800s. We use leading-edge technical approaches and best practices while engaging local stakeholders and suppliers in these efforts.

Our Approach

PG&E remains committed to safely incorporating sustainable remediation practices and technologies into site cleanups. Since 2010, we have partnered with the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) to implement our sustainable remediation approaches.

Involving the community early is a vital component of our remediation efforts. Locally, we communicate with city leaders, local businesses, community groups, and residents to promote awareness, solicit feedback and identify core issues of interest in our remediation projects. We partner on initiatives to address these issues, including hiring local unemployed residents, developing property disposition strategies that align with remediation efforts and sourcing local goods and services.

In addition, PG&E continues to deliver economic, social and environmental benefits through its environmental remediation work. Our work includes improving the environment through soil and groundwater cleanups, and field testing cutting-edge cleanup technologies to lower greenhouse gas emissions and minimize community impacts. In 2018, these activities contributed $6 million to the local economies near our project sites.

2018 Milestones

Natural Gas Compressor Stations

PG&E’s natural gas system includes eight compressor stations that receive and move natural gas throughout our service area. During the 1950s and 1960s, long before recognition of the environmental standards to which we adhere today, Pacific Gas and Electric Company used hexavalent chromium to prevent rust in cooling towers at the Topock and Hinkley compressor stations—a common industry practice at the time. These operations resulted in groundwater contamination, and PG&E continues to work diligently under the oversight of state and federal agencies and in coordination with local Native American tribal governments to address these legacy impacts.

At the Topock Compressor Station, we completed the design and permitting process and began construction of the long term groundwater remedy. The DTSC and the U.S. Department of the Interior approved the remedy design in April 2018 and DTSC also certified the Subsequent Environmental Impact Report. Construction of the first phase of remedy facilities started in October 2018 and will continue for approximately two years.

We also conducted soil investigation work in and around the compressor station property after years of planning and review with regulators and tribes. The data collected were used to develop a risk assessment in 2018 that will help determine soil cleanup work that might be needed in the future. PG&E continues to work with agencies and stakeholders as the risk assessment is approved and an Engineering Evaluation/Cost Assessment (EE/CA) is developed for the U.S. Department of Interior. An approved EE/CA will allow expedited remediation of contaminated soil.

While the long-term groundwater remedy is being finalized, we continued operations of interim groundwater measures, which operate around the clock to help ensure that the Colorado River is protected from impacts. Built in 2005, the system has successfully controlled groundwater contamination, treating almost 900 million gallons of groundwater and removing more than 7,500 pounds of chromium.

PG&E also remains committed to protecting public health and safety while remediating the environment and responding to community concerns at the Hinkley Compressor Station. Through 2018, we estimate that at least 50 percent of the chromium present in the groundwater has been remediated.

We also continue to work with community stakeholders to improve our local presence in the Hinkley community and support community investment priorities focusing on youth, health and wellness, education and workforce development.

Manufactured Gas Plant Sites

We continue to make progress as we voluntarily address 42 Manufactured Gas Plant (MGP) sites previously owned or operated by Pacific Gas and Electric Company or its predecessor companies. MGPs were located across the country and used coal and oil to produce gas for lighting, heating and cooking in the late 1800s and early 1900s, until natural gas arrived in the 1930s.

In 2018, cleanup was completed at sites in Oroville, Eureka, and San Francisco (a portion of the former Potrero Power Plant and MGP site), and we are working on documenting our cleanup activities and developing any necessary site maintenance plans.

Highlights include:

  • Prepared properties for future uses. Cleanup work at the Potrero Site encompassed completing the first of three phases of remediation. The cleanup work was performed on areas of the former Potrero Power Plant and Pier 70 along the waterfront of San Francisco Bay. The cleanup work will position the Potrero Power Plant site and Pier 70 properties for productive reuse.
  • Hired local workers as part of the Oroville, Eureka and Potrero projects. Since 2012, PG&E has adopted a local-hiring strategy that has benefitted unemployed and homeless residents, often leading to future full-time jobs.

Additional Environmental Remediation Projects

Our commitment to environmental responsibility, sustainable remediation practices and community partnerships was evident at other remediation projects in 2018. This included the completion of a final critical phase of work at the former Hunters Point Power Plant: the cleanup and restoration of a shoreline area that stretches from Heron’s Head to India Basin Park. The project provides public access, educational outreach related to natural and cultural history, and recreational facilities along a new pedestrian pathway adjacent to San Francisco Bay. Cleanup activities resulted in reduced risks to the community and ecological receptors in San Francisco Bay.

During construction, PG&E implemented a robust safety and compliance program, including stringent dust management practices that ensured the safety of employees, contractors, the public and ecological receptors. We worked with the City of San Francisco’s CityBuild program so that at least 30 percent of our laborer/operator workforce was hired locally. We also used local businesses—such as construction and remediation contractors, security companies, and equipment rentals—based in the community or in San Francisco, whenever possible.

We modified the shoreline design to include sustainable elements such as natural bioswales for stormwater filtering to protect the Bay and native plant species for erosion control and other aesthetic improvements.

Measuring Progress

Sustainable Remediation

In 2018, we reduced cumulative greenhouse gas emissions by more than 730 metric tons and liquid wastes by 6.7 million gallons. We achieved these results by incorporating sustainable practices on our remediation sites:

  • Using heavy construction and remediation equipment meeting Tier 3 and Tier 4 federal emission standards, reflecting the cleanest standards in the industry;
  • Using alternative fuels and renewable sources of energy for equipment and vehicles; and
  • Maximizing recycling, on-site reuse of materials and reductions in liquid and soil wastes generated during remediation.

We also aim to source our equipment and vendors from the local community. In 2018, we added about $6 million to the local economies near our project sites.

At our Marina project in San Francisco, we incorporated the use of the e240 Electric Mini Excavator, the first in the world to match the performance metrics of a diesel powered unit with a lithium-ion battery. The advantages of using this innovative equipment include using clean energy, less noise and fewer emissions.