Big Creek Hydroelectric System
Located in the Sierra Nevada Mountains approximately 250 miles north of Los Angeles, the Big Creek Hydroelectric System was built in four phases: 1911-1913, 1917-1929, 1948-1960, and 1980-1995. In addition to its location on the Upper San Joaquin River, Big Creek Hydroelectric System draws water from six reservoirs: Huntington Lake, Shaver Lake, Florence Lake, Redinger Lake, Mammoth Pool, and Lake Thomas A. Edison.
The plant boasts the usage of twenty seven dams and twenty four operating units. It is owned entirely by Southern California Edison and is responsible for producing 90 percent of Southern California Edison’s hydroelectric energy supply. Big Creek Hydroelectric System was one of America’s first large hydroelectric plants and has a capacity of approximately 1,000 megawatts.
Asbestos was used largely in World War I and World War II production of military vessels as well as commercially in insulation and drywall in homes and schools. Because of its fireproof nature and its capacity for heat resistance, asbestos was used in boiler facilities and turbines in many power plants.
Though asbestos was functionally designed to protect power plant employees, it is now widely known in the medical world as dangerous carcinogen. When undisturbed and settled, asbestos is harmless and its carcinogenic effects are greatly reduced. However, when transported or otherwise handled or damaged, asbestos fibers are freed and spread through the air. Many power plants did not provide regulation ventilation for their employees, and thus the asbestos dust settled on their hair and clothes. Workers often took the fiber home this way, and family members were also exposed to them.
When asbestos fibers are inhaled or if workers swallow them, they are caught in the lining of the heart, stomach, or, most commonly, the lungs. Over an extended period of time, this results in a deadly, rare cancer known as mesothelioma. Mesothelioma symptoms are subtle and can appear to e a result of more common diseases like a flu or pneumonia. If mesothelioma is diagnosed, cancer treatment is often aggressive. Unfortunately, mesothelioma treatment is rarely successful. Workers often are unaware of the dangers of asbestos they once faced in the workplace and many remain undiagnosed.