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Henry A. Barrios / The Californian


Pacific Gas and Electric Co. is reporting fresh progress in its efforts to bring down the old Kern Power Plant at Coffee Road and Rosedale Highway.

The San Francisco-based utility said it pulled down four 140-foot-tall smokestacks this week, and that last week it tore down four steel fuel tanks at the 120-acre site.

Next in line for demolition: the plant's boiler structures, which previously contained asbestos. The company says all asbestos has been removed this year. A PG&E spokeswoman noted in a company blog Thursday that it plans to implode the boiler structures in mid-August.

"It's great. It's coming along," she wrote, quoting Tom Allen, the director of new generation construction who is supervising the demolition work.

The power plant closed for good in 1995 after operating from 1948 to 1985, when it went on "stand-by" status.

This summer, the company plans to conduct soil and groundwater testing at the site. That work became necessary after investigative work in the early 2000s indicated that "some soil had been contaminated by limited metals and petroleum hydrocarbons," spokeswoman Tracy Correa wrote in her blog post.

PG&E has been working to prepare the site for sale and redevelopment. Previous arrangements to sell the property have fallen through.

Thursday's blog post states that the company expects to continue environmental remediation of the site into next year.