Exide’s Negative Impact on Other Communities

 

UPDATE (June 3, 2014) – While this page still is a good overview of the negative impact Exide Technologies has and has had on communities around the world, we no longer will be updating information about specific communities here. Instead, you can use the Site Search box that is located in the top right corner of the this page – and any page on this site. The Site Search box is at the bottom right of the site’s navigation header, and you will see “Search” in it.

Just type in words that you think might be in a story about the topic you are interested in and hit your “return” button. A listing or results will coming up in a page. For some words, there will be many related stories, so make sure to scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the “Read More” button.

You also can use the “Categories” found in the far right-hand corner of each page to help you in your search.

FROM THE LOS ANGELES TIMES: Battery Recycler Exide’s Problems Aren’t Just Local

 

There is no safe level of lead exposure for humans, and lead exposure is especially dangerous for children. In fact, the CDC has recently significantly lowered its blood lead levels for lead poisoning in children. As exposure to lead in paint and gasoline has been minimized, emissions from lead smelters and the lingering dust particles are one of the top causes of lead contamination of air, water and soil today.

The EPA strengthened air quality standards for lead in 2008.  Once non-attainment designations take effect, state and local governments have three years to develop implementation plans – such as the flawed one TCEQ and Exide proposed for Frisco (and was rejected by the EPA!) –  outlining how areas will attain and maintain the standards by reducing air pollutant emissions contributing to lead concentrations.

In addition to its Frisco plant, several other Exide plants around the U.S. were designated as being in non-attainment of lead emissions when the EPA strengthened standards. In addition to not meeting the safer standards, several of Exide’s plants also have track records of poor maintenance – like the Frisco lead smelter – and of ongoing violations and breaches of air safety standards, as well as exposing employees to dangerous levels of lead – like the Frisco lead smelter.

In addition, the EPA issued a unilateral administrative order against the Frisco Exide smelter, and the TCEQ issued an enforcement order after on-site inspections by both agencies raised significant concerns about high levels of lead, cadmium and other toxins and contamination of soil and ground water.

One of the first things Exide does when its plants fail to meet legal air quality standards for lead is to offer free blood tests to citizens in the affected communities. But such tests have proved inconclusive, time and time again, like here in Frisco.

A lead deposition study showed that more than 150 tons of lead emission particles have been dumped on much of Frisco by the Exide lead smelter since it began operations almost 50 years ago. More than 38,000 Frisco children and young people under the age of 19 live within the lead deposition study area.

Because of its long, documented, dubious track record locally, nationally and internationally, we have started a collection of stories about Exide’s negative impact on other communities. We know there are more than we have listed, and please contact us if you know about those.

Exide claims that it is a world-class operation. What do you think? Is this what a Rising Star like Frisco deserves?

 

NATIONAL

Exide Reaches Settlement Agreement on Environmental Liabilities

with EPA, NOAA Nine Years After Filing Bankruptcy

Exide and several of its subsidiaries filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection in April 2002. According to the company’s 10-K filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2002, it was involved in 90 federally defined Superfund or state equivalent sites.

In May 2011, Exide agreed to resolve its environmental liabilities with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) related to 23 sites across the country. In addition, the agreement, approved by the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware, also contains an additional sites provision, which provides a framework for addressing Exide’s future liability pursuant to the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA, commonly referred to as Superfund) and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).

According to the EPA, the agency received an allowed general unsecured claim of $61,448,278 for past and future response costs in connection with 21 sites and NOAA received an allowed general unsecured claim in the amount of $6,151,400 for natural resource damages at two sites.  Distributions pursuant to the Settlement Agreement and in accordance with Exide’s confirmed Plan of Reorganization will be in shares of Exide’s stock. 

In addition, the Settlement Agreement requires Exide to continue to comply with seven cleanup work consent decrees and three cleanup work orders.  The Settlement Agreement also provides a framework for resolving contamination at sites that may not have been discovered at the time of settlement in the form of an additional sites provision.  If contamination is later discovered at a site, after EPA and Exide reach an agreement as to the amount of the claim, EPA will receive payment for 15 percent of the agreed upon claim amount.

Download and read a copy of Exide’s bankruptcy settlement with EPA, NOAA here.

INDIVIDUAL COMMUNITIES AROUND THE WORLD

Dallas

Exide Dixie Metals Dallas

Closed Exide-owned Dixie Metals Superfund site on either side of McGowan Street in South Dallas neighborhood

The Dixie Metals lead smelter that Dallas refused to permit in 1984 and shut down using the amortization process in late December 1990 because of continued problems with excess lead emissions and high blood lead levels in neighborhood children was owned by parent-company Exide. The facility also was designated as a Superfund site. In Exide’s annual reports it lists Dixie Metals as a wholly owned, non-operating subsidiary.  Dixie Metals/Exide still owns the land (scroll down to 3030 McGowan), which today  – almost 12 years after the lead smelter was shut down – still remains mounded landfills of toxic soil blocked off with chain-link perimeter fences in the middle of a residential area in the Cadillac Heights neighborhood of East Oak Cliff.

Associated Press – Dec. 31, 1990 – DALLAS – A bitter community fight to halt a lead-smelting plant in a south Dallas neighborhood ends New Year’s Eve when the Dixie Metals Co. shuts down after 42 years of production.

The plant, one of three Dallas smelters that once recycled lead from used car batteries and other sources, closes at midnight tonight.

About 65 employees will lose their jobs, some of whom have been with the plant for decades.

“I know I’m losing a job, but I’m not worried, really, because I trust in God to take it from there,” said James McNeal, 47, quality control supervisor and a 27-year Dixie employee. “I believe God will make a way for me.”

But local residents are praising the plant’s closing. The plant has been blamed for making residents ill.

Exide Dixie Metals Dallas 2

View of small part of still unused land that was site of closed Exide-owned Dixie Metals lead smelter that contaminated close-by neighborhoods

No deaths were reported, but high readings of lead in the blood samples of local children were found as long ago as 1972.

The plant opened in 1948, when little information on the impact of lead was known.

A 1968 city ordinance limited average monthly lead emissions to 5 micrograms.

Even so, inspectors continued to find readings of up to 599 micrograms of lead near the Dixie facility in 1970 and averages of 52 micrograms from 1970 to 1973.

In 1972, Dallas health officials reported the level of lead in blood samples from neighborhood children were 36 percent higher than in other parts of the city.

A 1974 lawsuit filed against Dixie by the city prompted the plant to adopt pollution controls. The company spent $1.4 million in the latter 1970s to clean up emissions, but the anti-pollution tactics failed to work properly until 1979.

The Dallas Board of Adjustments ruled in 1984, after denying a special zoning permit, that the plant could operate for five more years, then close permanently. It was not compatible with the neighborhood, the board ruled.

Los Angeles Basin – Vernon / City of Commerce

APRIL 26, 2013 UPDATE – California Suspends Operations at Exide’s Venon Plant Because It “Poses an Unacceptable Risk to Human Health and the Environment”

LA City Council irate over Exide’s arsenic emissions; Agency report states Exide’s plant’s cancer risk higher and affects more people than any of other 450 area facilities

“Toxic Lead Pollution in L.A: Two Battery Recyclers Beg to Differ”

“Listing of Repeated Notice of Violation and Lack of Compliance at Exide Plant in Vernon, CA”

 Southport and Fairfield, Connecticut and the Mill River

warningConnecticutt Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP)

Mill River, Fairfield, CT

Lead
The lead contamination within the Mill River was evaluated as part of human and ecological risk assessments conducted by the Exide Group Incorporated, as required by CT DEEP.  Risk assessments have shown that lead in the sediments is impacting the recreational use of the river due to risks from direct contact with sediments containing lead, as well as accumulation into fish and shellfish tissues, which could pose a risk to people who might eat the fish and shellfish.
In response to the contamination, a fish consumption advisory has been established recommending that people not eat Blue Crab from the Mill River estuary.  The risk assessments also demonstrated that the aquatic life and avian communities were at risk, due to exposure to lead.
The Exide Group Incorporated is under order to remediate the lead contamination associated with the former Exide Battery Manufacturing facility which was located on the banks of the Mill River.  The upland portion of the cleanup has occurred and the company is preparing to conduct remedial activities to address the sediment contamination.  The Sediment Remedial Action Plan and associated permits are available for public comment.

 AUGUST 9, 2013 UPDATE – Fairfield gives green light to Exide cleanup of contaminated Mill River; Residents look forward to cleanup of site 30 years after Exide closed lead smelter 

JULY 30, 2013 UPDATE – Joint meeting on Exide plan Aug. 1

JULY 12, 2013 UPDATE – Revised plan to dredge Mill River scrutinized

JULY 7, 2013 UPDATE – Fairfield boards to review Exide remediation plan

MARCH 17, 2013 UPDATE – Hearing Process to Begin on Exide Cleanup

JANUARY 19, 2013 UPDATE – Exide Plan Stirs Up Questions

JANUARY 16, 2013 UPDATE  – CT DEEP presents Exide’s plans, meeting leaves residents feeling unheard about Mill River clean-up

JANUARY 18, 2013 UPDATE –  Local Conservation Officials Question Exide’s Dredging Plans

MAY 22, 2012 UPDATE – New Exide Cleanup aims to get the lead out, once and for all – ctpost.com

Exide Group Inc. has been under orders from the DEEP to remove the lead that was leaked from its Fairfield factory for 30 years. Cleanup of the factory property and abutting Mill River began in 1983, when about 4,000 yards of contaminated sediment was removed, while more ground contaminants were removed between 1987 and 1990.

The latest DEEP cleanup order was issued in 2008 when lead-pollution levels failed to subside after the initial cleanup efforts in 1983. The lead contamination is believed to have been caused primarily by spills during the manufacture of batteries that Exide produced at the factory before shutting down in 1981.

JANUARY 29, 2012 UPDATE – Fairfield officials want lead, chromium cleanups of Mill River coordinated

JANUARY 27, 2012 UPDATE  – Exide scheduled to clean up Mill River

Negative economic impact on Connecticut communities 31 years and counting AFTER Exide plant was shut down:

While Exide closed its troubled Southport, CT, plant in 1981 (it had been in operation since 1951), and didn’t tear down the plant until 2005 just now have plans been finalized to begin cleaning up Mill River.

Exide has been documented as being one of river’s two major polluters.

And while this story from Fairfield, CT, is from 2010, it illustrates the lingering negative economic impact of the Exide plant, which was shut down 29 years earlier. Fairfield is one mile from Southport, where the plant was located, and Exide’s 6.25 acres were located on the western edge of Fairfield’s downtown.

 

 Logansport County, Indiana

MAY 30, 2012 UPDATE – Logansport County, Indiana gets EPA grant to address clean-up of site of Exide lead smelter, which closed in the 1990s.

This interesting story that gives some idea how long and what the Logansport community has had to deal with to clean up what Exide left behind. Note 2006 date.

Frankfort, Indiana

More than 20 years after Exide closed plant in Frankfort, IN, demolition and property clean-up underway; Concerns about health, environmental hazards warrant community, multi-agency oversight

Munice, Indiana

FEBRUARY 2013 UPDATE – Indiana Department of Environmental Management issued Exide a Notice of Violation in late March 2013 for allowing contaminants/wastes/solid waste to be released that created a threat to human health and the environment.

From the Notice of Violation (click here to read complete document)

4. Pursuant to IC 13-30-2-1(1), no person shall discharge, emit, cause, allow, or threaten to discharge, emit, cause, or allow any contaminant or waste, including any noxious odor, either alone or in combination with contaminants from other sources, into the environment in any form that causes or would cause pollution that violates or would violate 329 IAC 10-4-2.

As noted during the investigation, Respondent allowed contaminants and/or wastes from an unknown source(s) to be released into the environment along the south side of the Site in violation of 329 IAC 10-4-2.  Brown-colored water has been observed along the south side of Storage Area D and the rail spur, and stressed/dead vegetation has been observed in several areas down-slope from and along the rail-spur to the ditch along the south side of the property on several occasions.  The ditch leads to a storm water outfall at the southwest corner of the property.  Based upon IDEM’s request for a waste determination following its June 2012 inspection, sample results from soil and water samples collected by Respondent on June 6, 2012 from the area indicate elevated levels of lead and sodium, as well as elevated pH, in the area.  Soil sample results showed lead at 945 mg/kg on a dry basis and sodium at 5490 mg/kg on a dry basis.  The pH result was 8.91.  Water sample results showed sodium at 3780 mg/L and the pH was 9.86.

5.  Pursuant to 329 IAC 10-4-2, no person shall cause or allow the storage, containment, processing, or disposal of solid waste in a manner which creates a threat to human health or the environment, including the creating of a fire hazard, vector attraction, air or water pollution, or other contamination.

As noted during the inspection, Respondent caused and/or allowed solid waste from an unknown source(s) to be disposed at the Site in a manner which creates a threat to human health or the environment.  Brown-colored water has been observed along the south side of Storage Area D and the rail spur, and stressed/dead vegetation has been observed in several areas down-slope from and along the rail-spur to the ditch along the south side of the property on several occasions.  Based upon IDEM’s request for a waste determination following its June 2012 inspection, sample results from soil and water samples collected by Respondent on June 6, 2012 from the area indicate that the disposal of solid waste caused elevated levels of lead and sodium, as well as elevated pH, in the area.  Soil sample results showed lead at 945 mg/kg on a dry basis and sodium at 5490 mg/kg on a dry basis.  The pH result was 8.91.  Water sample results showed sodium at 3780 mg/L and the pH was 9.86.

“US: Toxic Lead is Affecting Eleven States”

Laureldale /Reading, Pennsylvania

“Poisoned Places: Toxic Air, Neglected Communities” Investigative Report”

Frisco and Reading, PA Share Similarities in Ongoing Problems with Exide Plants

“Despite years of citizen complaints, factory on EPA ‘watch list’ gets new license to foul the air

This video features Laureldale residents who were interviewed about their ongoing struggles with Exide.

Their stories were part of a major, four-part investigative report produced by National Public Radio and the Center for Public Integrity: “Poisoned Places: Toxic Air, Neglected Communities”.

NOVEMBER 28, 2012 UPDATE – Exide’s Operating Permit at Risk: Judge Rules State Ignored Monitoring Data, Failed to Scrutinize Exide’s Lead Emission Claims

NOVEMBER 10, 2012 UPDATE – County Takes No Delight in Exide Workers’ Plight; Not Willing to Trade Public Health for Jobs

NOVEMBER 9, 2012 UPDATE – Exide to Lay Off 150 Workers

OCTOBER 16, 2012 UPDATE – County, Exide Spar Over Air Quality

Exide/EPA Investigation

“EPA – Exide Reading, PA., Corrective Action”

“Exide Offer to Clean up 2 More Lead-Tainted Areas of Bernhart Park”

16 Years After Closed for Lead Dust Contamination from Exide Smelter and More than Decade of Clean-Up Disputes with Exide, Bernhart Park Readies t0 Reopen

“OSHA Cites Exide Laureldale Plant for Workplace Safety and Health Violations”

 

Petone, Wellington, New Zealand

APRIL 28, 2012 UPDATE -Continuous Monitoring for Exide Plant – The Dominion Post

Arsenic and lead emissions will be monitored around the clock as part of strict resource consent conditions imposed on Exide for the decommissioning of its battery-recycling plant in Petone.

Future of Closed Exide Site Remains Up in the Air

“Editorial” Good Neighbours Are Clean Neighbours”What can Frisco Community learn from this?

“Exide Plant Future in Doubt”

“Exide’s Neighbours Feeling Helpless”

“Sisters Call for More Testing for Lead”

Fort Smith, Arkansas

“Exide Plant Faces 25 Safety and Health Violations”

 

Bristol, Tennesse

Local Leaders Shocked by Exide Announcement to Idle Plant, Layoff More Workers

 

Salina, Kansas

Salina’s Exide Found to Be in Violation of Lead Emission Standards

Exide’s Salina, KS, Plant Added to EPA Lead Non-attainment List

IMPORTANT NEWS ABOUT LEAD SMELTERS, TOXICITY IN OTHER COMMUNITIES

USA TODAY Investigative Report: “Ghost Factories: Poison in the Ground”

Senators Call for EPA Inquiry into Lead Smelter Sites

St. Louis, MO

“$320 Million Verdict in Lead Smelter Case Sends Clear Message”

ST. LOUIS (July 30, 2011) • The mystery Friday afternoon was not whether the jury would punish the Herculaneum lead smelter’s former owners for negligently exposing Hurculaneum Lead Smelter - St. Louis16 children to harmful lead pollution.

The jury had already said it planned to award punitive damages, on top of a $38.5 million verdict as compensation for health problems and lost lifetime earnings.

The only question still lingering in the St. Louis Circuit courtroom at the end of a three-month trial was the size of that award.

The answer: $320 million.

The amount surprised even the plaintiffs’ attorneys. They had suggested to the jury a punitive award that was one-third lower.

“I’m stunned,” said Gerson Smoger, a Dallas attorney who worked on the case with St. Louis attorney Mark Bronson.

“They obviously wanted to send a message: Don’t choose profits over people,” Bronson said. “That’s what this case is about.”

 

Mexico

From the Sept. 3, 2011, edition of The Economist:
Black sand in the desert: Lead pollution has caused a lasting public-health blight
(Photo: The cerro negro, as it was in 1999)

“DUSTY brown mountains surround Torreón, a big industrial city in the north of Mexico. But one sandy desert hillside shines jet-black. The cerro negro (“black hill”), as it is known locally, is composed of deposits from Latin America’s largest non-ferrous metal smelter, which has blackened the air for more than a century. The plant has created not just an ugly slag heap but a public-health problem whose true extent is still unknown…” Click here to read the full article.