By Juliette Goodrich

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — A secret clean-up operation is underway in one of San Francisco’s most expensive neighborhoods.

For years, PG&E has been buying up multi-million dollar homes in the Marina District.

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What does a utility company need with expensive homes? Well, the utility has been trying to remove toxic soil from old fuel manufacturing plants along Fillmore and Bay streets.

A lot of people had no clue what was going on.

One of the decontamination operations in the Marina District is the future site of condos.

“Every day they would park right here and go in and out of the garage moving dirt,” said Marina resident Nels Lundquist. “I never knew what they were doing.”

For Lundquist and other Marina residents, they had no idea what was really going on right in their own neighborhood.

Robert Riggio, a property owner in the Marina, said, “They dug up stuff and they were pretty mysterious when they did it.”

Riggio said, however, that PG&E did let him know they were going onto the property.

Over the past six months PG&E has been cleaning up former gas plant sites.

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The company sent out alerts to let neighbors know.

One of those places is right across the street from Lundquist, in the backyard of a vacant home.

“I live 100 feet from there you know. What is it? Am I in danger?” Lundquist said.

Word is spreading and questions are being asked.

“There is some kind of toxic waste under there and its concerning that it’s under ours too,” said Lundquist .

According to the SF Gate, PG&E also has removed tainted soil from the backyards of nine nearby homes and has purchased homes in order to clean up the toxic area.

In a written statement, PG&E said the company is finding solutions.

“Since our voluntary program began in 2010, we’ve worked closely with the community and individual property owners to find solutions that work for them. We’re committed to addressing any impacts from historical operations, and meeting our customers’ needs.”

Riggio said it’s unbelievable that they are cleaning up from fuel plants in the 1800’s and that there are apartment buildings on some of those red zones.

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PG&E said the chemicals don’t pose a hazard to public health as long as the areas aren’t redeveloped.

Juliette Goodrich