August 28, 1998
Environmental Science Associates
225 Bush St.
San Francisco, CA 94104
After attending the CPUC meeting at the Pittsburg Yacht Club on Aug. 25th concerning the sale of PG&E’s Pittsburg power plant I came away with the feeling that very little concern had been given to the problem of noise polution. We live approximately 3000’ SE of the plant and noise, at the present production level, is a serious problem. In the summertime when the plant is operating at or near capacity the noise level is such that we must close our windows and turn on the airconditioning in order to sleep. This makes neither environmental or economic sense since our normal cooling evening breezes are free and ecologically safe. Walking, playing or just sitting in the back yard visiting with friends is less enjoyable because of the noise. Now you’re considering a change which will almost certainly result in a doubling of electrical production and its partner noise. At the meeting when questioned about this one of the moderators replied that is would ‘average out’. What could that mean?
We have lived in our home for over nine years and were aware and accepted the noise at its present level when we purchased. Now you are considering a move which could very well force us to move away from our friends if the noise level becomes untenable.
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PG&E has had many incidences of personel or mechanical failures which have resulted in the release of high pressure steam. The noise resulting from this, I am sure, exceeds any generally accepted standards. These releases have gone on for hours at a time and the only way to cope is to leave the area. They also had a boiler explosion in 1997 that besides creating tremendous amount of noise contaminated a large area with asbestos. Common sense tells me that the more you use a piece of machinery the more chance you have of these types of failures.
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It was stated at the meeting that noise levels had been monitored and found not to be a problem. At what level was the plant operating when there readings were taken? This imformation should be readily available. If it was at less than peak production another more comprehensive study should be made to give you a truer picture of the problem.
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A great deal of effort and money has been put into the New York Landing area rehabilitation. What you’re considering will most certainly lower the quality of our life and lead to lower property values. We don’t deserve this. We’ve worked too hard and long to reach our present aesthetic and cultural level and have high hopes for the future. Eccessive noise is as much a pollutant as particulates or cooling water that is pumped back into the river at too high a temperature. Eccessive noise is a significant problem for the residents of this area.
146 Pelican Loop
Pittsburg, CA 94565
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