SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - A federal judge denied Pacific Gas & Electric's motion to dismiss claims that residue of its 19th-century plants has been contaminating San Francisco Bay and soil and groundwater for more than 100 years.


The San Francisco Herring Association and a landowner sued PG&E in April 2014 under the Clean Water Act and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. They claimed that plant operations from a century ago continue to contaminate land in the Marina and Fisherman's Wharf neighborhoods, and the bay water.


     PG&E's manufactured gas plants were highly polluting, low-tech refineries used in the 19th and early 20th centuries to create gas from coal. They often spread across several buildings covering several city blocks.


Its three San Francisco plants were in North Beach, in the Fillmore and on Beach Street. Their reduction process created considerable solid and gaseous toxic waste, which leached into the ground, was dumped into waterways or buried onsite, U.S. District Judge William Orrick wrote in his Feb. 26 ruling.


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