Milestone reached in cleanup of polluted Hinkley water made famous in 'Erin Brockovich'




BARSTOW >> At least half of a cancer-causing chemical has been removed from the world’s largest pollution site of its kind, one of Pacific Gas and Electric Co.’s top environmental executives told California water regulators here Wednesday.

The Hinkley chromium-6 groundwater plume, located 10 miles west of here, “is retreating,” Kevin Sullivan, PG&E’s director of environmental remediation, told members of the Lahontan Regional Water Control Board.

“Based on the current data that we have, we believe we have treated clearly more than half of the chromium-6, and maybe as much as two-thirds of the chromium-6, present in the groundwater,” Sullivan said Thursday in an email.

“We have invested tens of millions of dollars,” Sullivan said.

The Hinkley plume became internationally known after the 2000 release of the hit movie “Erin Brockovich.”

Due to aggressive treatment, the amount of cancer-causing chromium-6 detected in the worst well of the ground zero area of the contamination decreased from a whopping 9,000 parts per billion in 2011 to 1,200 parts per billion recently, Sullivan told the Lahontan board.

Despite the dramatic improvement, this well site where chromium-6 was first introduced into the groundwater is well above the California limit for chromium-6 in drinking water of 10 parts per billion.

No one in living in Hinkley drinks water from a private well that exceeds the state’s safe drinking limit for the chemical once used to kill algae and protect…

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