PG&E will install an agreed-upon system for the polluted area
September 29, 2011 3:03 PM
Staff Writer

HINKLEY • Out of five water replacement options presented by Pacific Gas and Electric on Wednesday, Hinkley residents with elevated levels of chromium 6 in their water spoke heavily in favor of keeping their wells and against signing up with Golden State Water Company.

PG&E hired an independent water consulting company to offer five possible plans for providing permanent replacement water to residents, whose water sources were contaminated with chromium 6 after PG&E used the chemical to prevent rusting in cooling water tanks at its Hinkley compression station in the 1950s and 1960s. The water had discharged into unlined ponds, where it slowly began seeping into the groundwater.

Ed Means, vice president of Malcolm Pirnie, explained the options for which PG&E would pay at Wednesday’s community advisory meeting at Hinkley School. The options were to build a 12-mile pipeline from Golden State’s pipes in Barstow to Hinkley, to install a central treatment system for the whole community or individual water systems on each home, to deepen the wells to tap into uncontaminated water and to truck in replacement water regularly.

Hinkley residents defended their right to use their well systems, as opposed to relying on Golden State water or trucking in outside water.

“That’s why we live out here,” said Joel Valenzuela, a member of the community advisory committee. “We care about our independence.”

Billy Hernandez told the crowd he shouldn’t have to pay water bills to Golden State when his well is a cheaper, independent source of water. Multiple people referenced the issues that Barstow residents are facing with increasing water bills and Golden State’s proposed rate increases.

“Once you don’t control it, it is in somebody else’s hands,” Hernandez said after the meeting. “And you’re stuck with what you’re stuck with.”

Most residents were in favor of the home systems, which would run off the wells and would be installed and maintained by a separate vendor.

To read more about the community advisory meeting, see the full story in Friday’s Daily Press. Get complete stories every day with the “exactly as printed” Daily Press E-edition, only $5 per month! Click here to try it free for 7 days. To subscribe to the Daily Press in print or online, call (760) 241-7755, 1-800-553-2006 or click here.

Sara Mitchell May be reached at (760) 256-4126 or