HINKLEY • PG&E did not cause several Hinkley residents' wells to dry up, the California Regional Water Quality Control Board, Lahontan Region said in a new report.
The agency investigated how PG&E was sampling wells to test for chromium 6 after six residents at a community meeting in Hinkley in December said that their wells were drying up and believed PG&E may be improperly sampling the wells. Nearby, PG&E was also drilling monitoring wells, and some residents wondered if those wells could also be related to the drying wells.
"It turned out, they were not," said Lisa Dernbach, senior engineering geologist for the water board.
PG&E had the residents' wells inspected and found that the pumps had a mechanical problem, which PG&E paid to have repaired, Dernbach said.
Greg Kearney, one of the homeowners who reported a drying well, said he was satisfied with how the well was repaired. Kearney said he recently sold his home to PG&E and purchased a new home in Apple Valley.
Kearney and his wife, Elaine, purchased property in Hinkley in 1986, then built their home in 1995. He said he had no idea of the community's issues with chromium 6 contamination until "Erin Brockovich" hit theaters in 2000.
Now he just wants to get "anywhere but Hinkley," Kearney said.
PG&E is required to sample the groundwater within one mile of the chromium 6 plume limit. Homeowners are then notified if PG&E believes they are within the plume.
The utility samples 246 private wells in Hinkley every three months. The vast majority of property owners reported no issues with drying wells, Dernbach said.
Dernbach said residents can contact PG&E's community center in Hinkley if they believe they should be added to the well sampling program. She said the utility also samples wells beyond the one mile limit if residents request it.