Marina Family Sues PG&E for Contamination of the Their Home - Toxicity Levels Many Thousand Times Higher Than Safe

SAN FRANCISCO, May 9, 2017 – Dalene Bramer and Joe Gabany, who live with their four year old twins in a home in the footprint of a former “manufactured gas plant” or “MGP” located in the Northeast end of the Marina neighborhood, filed a Complaint today, alleging that PG&E is responsible for the contamination of their home with massive levels of lead and cancer-causing polyaromatic hydrocarbons or “PAHs.” 

PG&E, less than a week ago, held a public meeting for Marina residents in which it claimed: “We are seeking to win back the trust of the community. . . Our work to date supports that we do not expect health impacts in the community as a result of the former MGPs.”

However, as alleged in the Complaint, lead levels from MGP wastes in the soil of Dalene and Joe’s home greatly exceed hazardous waste levels and are more than 55 times higher than the level which is known to cause neurological impairment to children. PG&E vigorously sought to prevent the testing for lead in the soils of Dalene and Joe’s home, and told their neighbors, who also have young children, that they’d have to sue PG&E to get it to test for lead.

In addition, PAH levels in the soils are more that 62,800 times than that established by the EPA as increasing a person’s risk of cancer. In other words, long-term exposure to this level of  toxins increases a person’s risk of developing cancer by over 62,800 times. Studies have shown that for people growing-up near PAH contaminated soils, most of this increased risk occurs as a result of exposure during their childhood. 

“The levels of lead and PAHs in our yard and under our home is deeply disturbing,” Dalene Bramer said. “PG&E told me that the MGP wastes did not contain lead and that it was safe for our family to use the backyard.  I did not believe them and only allowed my twins to play in the backyard on two occasions. As soon as I saw the dust flying around them, that was it, no more playing outside. And it’s a good thing, because when we received the test results, it showed that lead levels and PAHs were at the level of hazardous toxic waste.  It’s time for PG&E to own their toxic waste site and do the right thing here.”

Dalene’s husband, Joe Gabany, echoed that sentiment, “We’ve tried working with PG&E for four years. Their strategy is clearly to wear us down so that we accept something that saves them money. We’re not going to do it. This is their contamination, and they need to clean it up.”   

Dalene and Joe’s attorney, Stuart G. Gross of Gross & Klein LLP, described the situation this way, “PG&E’s attitude appears to be that with its size, resources, and influence, it calls the shots, and homeowners need to just accept what it’s offering. That was its plan. However, the law does not give it that leeway.” Gross continued, “It’s unfortunate that Dalene and Joe needed to go to court to force PG&E to meet its obligations. Luckily we still have a system of justice in which a young family can go toe-to-toe with a multi-billion dollar utility.”      

The lawsuit is titled, Bramer, et al. v. PG&E Corporation, et al, No. 17-2678, and alleges claims under Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 6901 et seq., and various California state laws. It was filed today in the San Francisco Courthouse of the District Court of the Northern District of California.

 A copy of the Complaint is included here.