Overview

Welcome to the Topock Remediation Project (Project) website. This website is dedicated to communicating information regarding the history and status of an environmental investigation and cleanup project at the Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) Topock Compressor Station (Station) and adjacent land, collectively known as the Topock Project Site (Site) in San Bernardino County, California. The PG&E Topock environmental investigation and remediation activities have been underway at the Site since 1997 as a result of historical releases of hexavalent chromium discharges from its cooling tower wastewater, impacting soil and groundwater.

The Station is located in eastern San Bernardino County, about 12 miles southeast of the city of Needles, California, south of Interstate 40, and one-half mile west of the Colorado River. The Station is surrounded by land owned by PG&E, the Fort Mojave Indian Tribe, BNSF Railroad, and the federal government, including the Havasu National Wildlife Refuge managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and lands owned and/or managed by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and the Bureau of Land Management (see the Site location map).  

GROUNDWATER: Protection of groundwater Water beneath the Earth’s surface that flows through soil and rock openings (aquifers).and surface waterWater collecting on the ground or in a stream, river, lake, wetland, or ocean. resources, including the Colorado River, as well as lands surrounding the Station, is one of the project's highest priorities. In 1996, PG&E entered into an agreement with the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC), a department of the California Environmental Protection Agency, to conduct environmental investigations to identify and clean up past environmental contamination. In 2005, PG&E signed a similar agreement with the United States Department of the Interior (DOI). In 2004, DTSC directed PG&E to take immediate, stopgap actions, known as Interim MeasuresCleanup actions taken to protect public health and the environment while long-term solutions are being developed., to ensure that the chromium plumeA body of contaminated groundwater. The movement of a groundwater plume can be influenced by such factors as local groundwater flow patterns, the character of the aquifer in which the groundwater is contained, and the density of contaminants. beneath the Site flows away from the Colorado River while additional investigation and final cleanup options were evaluated. After evaluating input from federal, state, local, and tribal governments and community members, a Final Remedy approach for the groundwater contamination was selected and a Final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) was certified by DTSC in January 2011 based on an environmental study of the Site. DOI, as a co-regulatory agency overseeing the Site, also adopted a Groundwater Record of Decision in December 2010, and selected the same remedy for the groundwater cleanup. 

After groundwater Water beneath the Earth’s surface that flows through soil and rock openings (aquifers).remedy selection, DTSC worked with PG&E, Federal Agencies, interested Tribes, and other key project stakeholders in the design of the remedy. Because of the specificity of the design details and additional knowledge of the anticipated site impacts, DTSC prepared a Subsequent EIR (SEIR) for the groundwater remedy. The Final SEIR was certified in April 2018. DTSC and DOI subsequently also approved the final Groundwater Remedy Design in April 2018. Phase 1 construction of the remedy began in October 2018, and the end of heavy construction occurred in the spring of 2021. System integration and functional testing started in the second quarter of 2021 and will continue through the third quarters of 2021, with remedy startup in fall of 2021. For the current schedule of construction activities click here.

SOIL:  Historical disposal practices associated with Compressor Station operations could have resulted in soil contamination inside and outside the Station boundaries. Soil investigation activities and an assessment of potential risk to human health and the environment have been conducted. A draft summary report of the Soil Investigations and recommendations was submitted in May 2021 for agencies’ review. This information will assist decision-making regarding the need for soil remediation.

Areas where contamination either has impacted or may potentially impact federal lands were identified through the soil investigation and the Human Health and Ecological Risk Assessment. As a result, DOI issued an Approval Memorandum that contemplated a potential removal action for the protection of the Havasu National Wildlife Refuge. On October 30, 2018, DOI directed PG&E to prepare a Draft Engineering Evaluation/ Cost Analysis (EE/CA). The purpose of an EE/CA is to evaluate the need for a non-time critical removal action (NTCRA) on federal lands or at locations where contamination has the potential to migrate to federal land. The public comment period for the EE/CA occurred from June 3, 2020 to August 5, 2020. DOI responded to comments received on April 23, 2021 and directed PG&E to revise the draft EE/CA. The final EE/CA can be found here. DOI prepared and approved a decision document, called an Action Memorandum, for the NTCRA, on October 12, 2021. The Action Memorandum, along with a Responsiveness Summary and the Final EE/CA can be found here

This website provides an overview of current Site activities and other Site-related information. Information on this website includes:

  • PG&E Topock Compressor Station Site location and history
  • Investigation and cleanup activities: past, present, and future
  • Groundwater remedy construction activities
  • Public involvement information
  • Cleanup-related technical reports and work plans

To visit DTSC on their main website, go to www.dtsc.ca.gov.

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Written Requests

The Office of Civil Rights
Department of Toxic Substances Control
P.O. Box 806
Sacramento, CA 95812-0806

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