Chico State files lawsuit against PG&E

Lawsuit cover sheet
Lawsuit cover sheet

Chico State is suing Pacific Gas and Electric to recover costs from an environmental cleanup the university performed during the construction of the WildCat Recreation Center.

From 1874 to 1928, the Chico Manufactured Gas Plant on West Second Street generated tars, sludge and powdered carbon that were often left onsite, according to the lawsuit.

Chico State claims that contamination found in the soil at the WREC construction site, a hundred feet north of the plant, was a result of the disposal of byproducts generated by the gas plant.

The university spent $2,369,000 cleaning up 1,037.64 tons of contaminated soil.

Chico State’s alleges its damages include:

  • property damage
  • restoration costs
  • delay damages
  • property devaluation

PG&E; cleaned debris and the aftereffects from the plant’s contamination and received a certificate of completion from the Department of Toxic and Substance Control, said Jeff Smith, a spokesman for the company. PG&E; acquired the plant in 1905. Most gas manufacturing plants were shut down by 1930.

“We successfully completed a cleanup from July 2006 to July of 2010,” Smith said. “We removed 3,500 tons of soil.”

PG&E and Chico State have been in negotiations to see whether or not PG&E; bears some responsibility to Chico State’s portion of the cleanup, Smith said.

“We will continue to work with Chico State to amicably resolve any pending issues,” he said.

Chico State is not able to comment on the lawsuit at this time, Lori Hoffman wrote in an email to The Orion.

Ernesto Rivera can be reached at [email protected] or @ernestorivera on Twitter.