Hexavalent chromium

February 3, 2012

PG & E agrees to $3.6 million settlement; half goes to Hinkley school

Source: http://www.sbsun.com, February 1, 2012
By: Jim Steinberg

Pacific Gas & Electric Co. has agreed to pay a $3.6 million fine for violating a regulatory agency’s order to contain a plume of chromium 6 contaminated water to the boundaries known in 2008, company and regulatory officials confirmed Wednesday night.

Since the third quarter of 2011, the known plume boundary has grown northward by about two miles, although officials say the plume may have been in that space for some time previously.

At PG & E’s insistence, half of the fine will go to Hinkley Elementary School to develop a whole water replacement system.

A water board official said PG & E is planning to pipe drinking water into the school from outside the Hinkley area.

Drinking fountains at the school were shut down – for the first time – last fall, at the request of parents.
Between 1952 and 1966, PG & E used chromium 6, also known as hexavalent chromium, to reduce corrosion in cooling towers at its natural gas compressor station in Hinkley.

At that time, the cancer-causing aspects of chromium 6 were not known.

Wastewater from the cooling towers were discharged in unlined ponds at the site, allowing the chromium 6 contaminated liquids to percolate into the groundwater.

Jeff Smith, a PG & E spokesman said, “PG & E felt it was important that as much of the settlement as possible be returned to the Hinkley community.”

At community advisory committee meetings – a group PG & E organized in the community – members have noted their concerns about the health of schoolchildren at the school, Smith said.…

January 9, 2012

MO Company Sued by Farmers – Lawsuit Settled

Read here about a lawsuit that was settled after a group of farmers sued a Missouri company over the chemical, hexavalent chromium.…

September 21, 2011

Chromium 6+ Tainted Hinkley Residents vs. Municipal Water Companies

Source: http://www.dbusinessnews.com, September 19, 2011

Chromium 6 is used in dyes, pigments, leather tanning, wood preserving, and chrome plating.

Chromium 6 is a by-product of metal plating and is classified as a carcinogen when inhaled as particles or fumes. When chromium 6 gets into water, the effects are equally as damaging.

Out of 1,591 National Priority List sites identified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EGA), 1,036 were found to have chromium 6 in them.

PG&E did contaminate the town of Hinkley with approx. 350 million gallons Chromium 6+ tainted ground waters and never abated it, nor will ever clean it up. It is virtually impossible to abate the constantly migrating Cr6+ plume in both aquifer, upper and lower and therefore the town of Hinkley is history, forever. {Total calamities sustained are estimated at over $ 1.7 billion.]

Scientists as well as many health officials argue that no level of chromium 6 is safe for the human body.
Water officials, however, argue that there is no scientific proof that any of these allegations are true.…

July 18, 2011

Merced to pay $1.5M in contamination case

Source: Merced Sun-Star (CA), July 15, 2011
Posted on: http://envfpn.advisen.com

The city of Merced will pay $1.5 million to more than 2,200 plaintiffs as a settlement in the 4-year-old Beachwood contamination and flooding case, in which residents alleged a plant near the neighborhood contaminated the air and water around them.

The plant used industrial chemicals to pressure-treat wood for cooling tower frames.

The authorization to spend the money was included in the approval of the city’s budget last month, according to city attorney Greg Diaz. The decision to settle came out of closed session and was finalized and reported in May by the Merced City Council, according to Diaz.

The case was filed in Fresno federal court against the city, pharmaceutical company Merck, Merced County, Franklin County Water District, the Merced Irrigation District and others in late 2006, he said.…

June 21, 2011

PG&E may have to provide household water to Hinkley residents

Source: http://www.desertdispatch.com, June 20, 2011
By: Karen Jonas

The Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board released a draft order last week that would require Pacific Gas and Electric to provide whole-house replacement water for Hinkley residents who have been affected by chromium 6.

The current cleanup and abatement order requires PG&E to provide temporary bottled water to residents with chromium 6 tested at levels above the maximum background levels of 3.1 parts per billion or total chromium above 3.2 parts per billion, which is currently about 10 to 12 homes, said Lauri Kemper, assistant executive officer for Lahontan.

The draft order would require testing of homes about a mile from the 3.1 parts per billion boundary, said Kemper. The draft order would also require PG&E to provide replacement water for residences who have had significantly higher levels of chromium 6 in their water than in the past.…

May 9, 2011

Residents Sue TX Companies Over Contamination

Read here about a group of over 250 Texas residents who have filed lawsuits against four companies for hexavalent chromium contamination in their neighborhood.…

April 7, 2011

Utilities Knew Of Chrome-6 Contamination For Years

Source: Environmental Working Group, April 5, 2011
Posted on: http://www.publicworks.com

2004 Tests Found ‘Brockovich’ Chemical Nationwide

Some water utility representatives have protested Environmental Working Group’s report of laboratory tests that found worrisome levels of chromium-6, a suspected carcinogen, in the drinking water of 31 cities across the country.

Yet the tap water industry was worried enough about the contaminant to conduct its own extensive survey in 2004 that found clear evidence of widespread chromium-6 pollution in untreated source water. The survey, conducted by the Awwa Research Foundation (since renamed the Water Research Foundation), an offshoot of the American Water Works Association, obtained data on 341 source water samples from 189 utilities in 41 states. The conclusion: chromium-6 is common in American groundwater. …

March 23, 2011

Madison considers tougher standards for well pollutants

Source: Wisconsin State Journal (Madison, WI), March 22, 2011
Posted on: http://envfpn.advisen.com

With more contaminants being found in city wells, the Madison Water Board is considering a tougher approach to pollutants, including heightened monitoring, filters and other treatments.

Contamination of Madison’s public drinking water wells by industrial pollutants is a growing problem. For example, pollutants are a thorny issue in Well No. 15 on the city’s East Side, and recently the possible carcinogen chromium-6 was found in all but three of 16 operating wells tested for the metal.

Madison is not alone. Lee Boushon, who heads the public water section for the state Department of Natural Resources, said other cities face increased contamination of their drinking water and are considering more aggressive regulatory approaches.…

March 15, 2011

Plant cited for release of toxic chemicals

Source: Richmond Register (KY), March 12, 2011
Posted on: http://envfpn.advisen.com

The Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection issued 10 notices of violation Thursday to the plant formerly known as Tokico, for its release of wastewater contaminated with a toxic pollutant.

The department’s Environmental Response Team (ERT) responded Feb. 4 to a report from Hitachi Automotive Systems Americas Inc. officials of the presence of a green-colored substance in the company’s storm water retention basin, according to a press release from the agency.

Sampling of the basin water revealed the presence of elevated levels of hexavalent chromium, which is used in the plant’s automotive manufacturing processes. Hitachi manufactures brakes, shocks and suspension systems for the auto industry and employs 1,100 people.…

January 27, 2011

EPA releases data for air toxics monitoring at Berks County school

Source: http://yosemite.epa.gov, Release date: 10/01/2009
Contact Information: Bonnie Smith, 215-814-5543, smith.bonnie@epa.gov

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released initial data from air toxics monitoring outside the Riverside Elementary School in Berks County, Pa.

EPA selected the Riverside School in Reading, Pa. as one of 63 schools in 22 states nationwide for air toxics monitoring.

The initial data show air toxics at the school are below levels of short-term health concerns. EPA scientists caution against drawing conclusions at this point as the study is designed to determine whether long-term, not short-term, exposure poses health risks to school children and staff. Once monitoring is complete, the full set of results from all of the schools will be analyzed to evaluate the potential for health concerns related to long-term exposure to these pollutants. As monitoring continues into the fall, EPA will post the data on its schools air toxics website at: http://www.epa.gov/schoolair.…