Hinkley, California: Overview

Modified on 2009/10/14 21:38 by admin
Hinkley, California, the Mojave Desert town made famous in the movie Erin Brockovich, is still dealing with the aftermath of toxic pollution. Brockovich discovered that Pacific Gas & Electric Co. (PG&E) dumped contaminated wastewater into the community's drinking water supply. PG&E eventually paid the town's 650 residents nearly $333 million to settle a variety of lawsuits claiming injury from the chromium-tainted wastewater that leaked from the utility's disposal ponds between 1951 and 1982. The company used chromium in its compressor plants. In the aftermath of the scandal, State officials approved a plan allowing the utility to spray the contaminated water on crops used as cattle feed. Since the plan's approval nearly eight years ago, about 140 million gallons of tainted water have been applied to the crops annually. The spraying plan appeared to be working well. Officials believed the dangerous form of chromium found in the contaminated water would rapidly convert to a harmless form of the metal upon contact with plants and soil. Recently, however, tests revealed elevated levels of harmful chromium in the air surrounding Hinkley. California's Air Resources Board found that wind gusts blew chromium over the area's rural lands and into at least one home.

Hexavalent chromium is a known toxicant. It is more hazardous when inhaled than when ingested in drinking water. Chromium can cause severe respiratory problems, lung diseases, reproductive problems, kidney damage, liver damage, and cancer. See your doctor if you live in Hinkley and you have experienced serious health problems. In addition, it may be important to contact an attorney who can help you protect your legal rights. Please keep in mind that there may be time limits within which you must commence suit.

See Also

  1. Specific Contaminated Sites
  2. Cancer
  3. Kidney & Urinary Tract Disorders
  4. Liver Problems
  5. Lung & Airway Disorders
  6. Women's Health Matters: Overview
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