Hinkley is an unincorporated community in the Mojave Desert in California, U.S. , 14 miles (23 km) west of Barstow, 59 miles (95 km) east of Mojave, and 47 miles (76 km) north of Victorville. It sits just north of California State Highway 58. The community is commonly associated with Pacific Gas & Electric since it was the location of a compressor station for PG&E's massive natural gas transmission pipelines. The natural gas has to be re-compressed approximately every 350 miles (560 km), and the station uses large cooling towers to cool the compressors. The water used in these cooling towers contained hexavalent chromium to prevent rust in the machinery. Since the water was storaged between uses in unlined ponds, it ultimately severely contaminated the groundwater in the town. Erin Brockovich who, as a legal clerk to the lawyer Edward L. Masry, investigated illness in the community and connections to hexavalent chromium, accepted as being a carcinogen, though some studies find no relationship between chromate and cancer. Her successful fight against PG&E became well known in the public's mind, as did Hinkley, when the film of her story was released in 2000. The United States does not define a census-designated place called Hinkley, but it does define a Zip Code Tabulation Area (ZCTA), 92347. Because Hinkley is contained within this ZCTA, it is possible to obtain Census data from the United States 2000 Census for the area even though data for "Hinkley" is unavailable. As of the census of 2000, the ZCTA of 92347 had a 2000 population of 1,915. Of note is the fact that there were 485 people (26.7 percent of the population) five years in age or older categorized as having a disability, a higher than average figure when compared to the national average of about 19.3 percent. Between the 1960s and 1980s, several miles West of Hinkley along Highway 58, the Hawes Radio Tower (a guyed mast) was used for military communication in the LF-range. The ZIP Code is 92347 and the community is inside area code 760.