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Toxic Plume Spreads In ‘Brockovich’ Calif. Desert Town

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Krystal Park, 13, reads a small sign across the street from her house warning of "nonpotable water", which in fact contains hexavalent chromium in the Mojave Desert town of Hinkley, CA, west of Barstow. Krystal Park, 13, reads a small sign across the street from her house warning of "nonpotable water", which in fact contains hexavalent chromium, July 19, 2001 in the Mojave Desert town of Hinkley, CA, west of Barstow. (David McNew/Getty Images)

Krystal Park, 13, reads a small sign across the street from her house warning of “nonpotable water”, which in fact contains hexavalent chromium in the Mojave Desert town of Hinkley, CA, west of Barstow. Krystal Park, 13, reads a small sign across the street from her house warning of “nonpotable water”, which in fact contains hexavalent chromium, July 19, 2001 in the Mojave Desert town of Hinkley, CA, west of Barstow. (David McNew/Getty Images)

CBS Los Angeles (con't)

Affordable Care Act Updates: CBSLA.com/ACA

Health News & Information: CBSLA.com/Health

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A toxic plume of chromium has spread to multiple groundwater wells near the California desert town made famous by the movie “Erin Brockovich.”

Water regulators told The Associated Press that wells  near Hinkley are showing increased concentrations of the cancer-causing substance despite efforts to contain it.

Pacific Gas & Electric tried to stop the spread after the contamination was exposed during a 1996 case in which the utility settled with Hinkley residents for $333 million.

PG&E thought the contamination was contained after tests in 2008 showed the plume was spreading.

The Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control board on Monday ordered the utility to conduct more tests after discovering more polluted wells.

A company spokesman says PG&E is complying with the directive.

(© Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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