PG&E Uproots Napa Families

Toxins contaminated ground below apartment complex

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Jodi Hernandez
    PG&E will demolish this apartment complex to test for contamination.

    Where's Erin Brockovich when we need her?

    Some Napa residents are being forced to uproot after learning the ground they live on may be contaminated with toxins.

    Pacific Gas & Electric, the dominant utility in the Bay Area, began notifying residents of the Riverside Apartment Complex last week that they must move out by August 20.

    PG&E says the complex is located on a site that was once home to a manufactured gas plant. Though the plant was dismantled 76 years ago, traces of chemicals could remain.

    "These plants use coal and oil to create gas," said PG&E spokesman Matt Nauman. " Some residues from the manufacturing process could still exist underground that's why we're doing this testing to see if they do."

    Nauman says PG&E tested the soil in the '80s and determined it was safe. But now they want to dig deeper. Once residents move out, the complex will be demolished, and the digging will begin.

    Though PG&E is giving each family $22,250 to relocate, residents are angry, scared and confused.

    "If they knew the plant was located here in the first place why did they build a complex for families to live here?" said Valerie Sanders, who has lived at the complex for five years.

    Julia Lopez says her family has no idea where they'll go. But she says she's especially worried about the health of her three small chldren and four nephews and nieces.

    "We are very worried for the children," said Lopez. "More than anything for the children."

    PG&E said they're confident they'll find the site is safe. They'll begin testing in late August.

    But that will be too late for the families whose lives are being disrupted.

     

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