Posts Tagged ‘building code’

Potrero Hill’s Potrero Power Plant To Go Offline in Early 2011?

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

Rebecca Bowe has the story of the coming end of San Francisco’s 362 MW Potrero Power Plant early next year.

Perhaps we should rename the PPP’s iconic red tower “Coit Tower South” and charge tourists admission to take rides to the top?

It’s a landmark now, right?

Click to expand

Cutout, 2 levels:

Cutout, 3 levels:

Cutout, 4 levels:

Cutout, 5 levels:

Cutout, 6 levels:

Cutout, 6 levels, version 2:

Cutout, 7 levels:

Mirant’s Potrero Generating Plant is Always With Us – When Will It Go Away?

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

See the tower of the Potrero Generating Plant down Seventh Street on a recent rainy day?

Will it be here a year from now?

Who knows. But, on it goes, day in and day out:

IMG_1023

Click to expand

City Attorney Dennis Herrera Sues for Seismic Safety Upgrades at Mirant

Monday, April 27th, 2009

San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera today sued Mirant Corporation for potentially life-threatening building code violations at the Potrero Generating Plant. Says Mr. Herrera:

“To the list of corporate lawlessness that includes polluting our air, ground and water, we can now add Mirant’s defiant refusal to address safety risks to its own employees.”

Read all about it, below.

Herrera blasts Mirant’s ‘deplorable corporate citizenship’ with seismic safety lawsuit

Code violations at controversial Potrero plant mark the latest in list of threats to public health, safety and the environment

City Attorney Dennis Herrera today filed suit against Mirant (NYSE: MIR) for potentially life-threatening building code violations at its controversial Potrero power plant, blistering the Atlanta-based energy giant’s “deplorable corporate citizenship” for long disregarding human health and safety in San Francisco.  The 17-page complaint filed in San Francisco Superior Court charges the company with persistent violations of a City ordinance that requires seismic safety upgrades to unreinforced masonry buildings, whose structural failures in major earthquakes can cause significant loss of life and injuries.  The aging diesel-fueled plant has been a flashpoint for neighborhood and environmental justice advocates for decades because of the facility’s longstanding air, ground and water contamination problems, and their suspected link to atypically high rates of asthma and cancer in neighboring communities.  Today’s lawsuit comes after years of failed negotiations between Mirant and City leaders to address environmental, public health and safety issues — including seismic retrofits — and a series of letters over the past few months from Herrera and other City officials threatening to challenge the extension of Mirant’s water permit for the plant because it continues to pollute San Francisco Bay.

“To the list of corporate lawlessness that includes polluting our air, ground and water, we can now add Mirant’s defiant refusal to address safety risks to its own employees,” said Herrera.  “City leaders have worked for years to shutter this filthy and dangerous facility — which has no business operating in the 21st Century, let alone in a major population center.  But it increasingly appears that our good faith efforts to work with Mirant have been exploited and mocked.  The imperatives of public health and safety in San  Francisco prevent us from continuing to tolerate this deplorable corporate citizenship.  I intend to pursue a court order to force Mirant to live up to responsibilities it has too long ignored.  Mirant is at the end of its rope.”

Unreinforced masonry buildings, or UMBs, are masonry or concrete buildings constructed without the benefit of reinforcements.  UMBs can be gravely hazardous in earthquakes, with a strong likelihood of failure in serious seismic events, including collapsing walls or the “pancaking” of entire buildings.  In 1992, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors adopted the UMB Ordinance to require: (1) all owners of UMBs to be notified of potential hazards; (2) all owners to retain a licensed civil, structural engineer or architect to identify the hazard class of UMB buildings; and (3) all owners to seismically upgrade the buildings within specified requirements and time frames. 

While the ordinance established Feb. 15, 2006 as the deadline for most building owners to complete structural seismic alterations, the City, like other regulatory agencies, extended numerous accommodations to Mirant in the expectation that the closure of its environmentally injurious power plant was imminent.  Today’s civil action details the history of the City’s enforcement efforts at the Potrero facility, and alleges that Mirant is operating a public nuisance in violation of the California Civil Code (Sections 3479 and 3480) and San Francisco Building Code (Sections 102 and 103).  Herrera’s lawsuit additionally charges Mirant with unlawful and unfair business practices, in violation of California Business and Professions Code Section 17200. 

If successful, Herrera’s case on behalf of the City and People of the State of California could result in sweeping injunctive relief, disgorgement of all profits derived from the company’s unlawful conduct, civil penalties, and costs and fees associated with the action. 

The case is: City and County of San Francisco and People of the State of California v. Mirant Potrero, LLC, San Francisco Superior Court, filed April 27, 2009.