Manufactured gas Plant ("MGP") Representation

Gross & Klein LLP represents homeowners and others affected by contamination caused by manufactured gas plants ("MGPs").

MGPs were operated by utilities, including PG&E, throughout the United States during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, often in locations that are now residential neighborhoods and/or environmentally sensitive. In San Francisco, two manufactured gas plants operated in the present Marina neighborhood, two operated in the present Fisherman's Wharf neighborhood, and another operated in the present Dog Patch neighborhood.

MGPs turned coal and, later, crude oil into a gas that was piped to residences for cooking and lighting. The process involved heating the coal or oil in furnaces, and created a large amount of waste, including tar and incompletely combusted fuel; both types of waste contain high levels of chemicals in a family known as polyaromatic hydrocarbons ("PAHs"). Many PAHs, including those associated with MGPs, are known carcinogens and are highly toxic to marine life. The wastes created by MGPs also include cyanide and lead, the latter having been a common constituent in the materials used for the construction and maintenance of MGPs, given the highly acidic nature of the gas produced.

While the wastes produced by MGPs had modern levels of toxicity, the manner in which MGP operators dealt with the wastes was distinctly premodern. Generally speaking, MGP wastes were disposed of on or near the site of the MGP, by simply dumping the wastes in an existing or excavated depression or in a nearby body of water. In the case of the Marina neighborhood, many of these disposal locations are now the locations of homes. When MGPs were decommissioned, the facilities where generally knocked down and the debris (including debris with high levels of lead) was spread across the facility's former footprint and dumped into any below ground tank or well.

The former operators of MGPs, which includes PG&E, in the case of the San Francisco MGPs, are responsible for addressing the impacts of MGP wastes, including its impacts on homeowners in affected neighborhoods.

Gross & Klein LLP's team, which includes expert environmental consultants, has been successfully representing homeowners and others affected by MGP contamination since 2011. In the process, they have developed the knowledge base and relationships necessary to help their clients navigate the complicated law and science that these cases present and to help them achieve the result they desire.

Published decisions from related cases include: Clarke v. Pac. Gas & Elec. Co., 81 F. Supp. 3d 847 (N.D. Cal. 2015).

For more information, please contact the head of Gross & Klein LLP's MGP team, Stuart Gross, at sgross@grosskleinlaw.com or (415) 671-4628 (x101).

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