EXIDE’S NEGATIVE IMPACT ON OTHER COMMUNITIES: 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
City and county officials in Frankfort, Indiana are overseeing the cleanup and demolition of the long-standing Exide Battery site, which is already under way, for environmental purposes. The Exide lead battery plant was closed more than 20 years ago, and the area has been a blighted one since. The Frankfort building inspector contacted Exide in January about tearing down the buildings and cleaning up the property. While Exide is paying for the project, there are many local agencies keeping an eye on the demolition for health and environmental hazards because of toxic chemicals in the soil, buildings, etc.
The Clinton County Chamber of Commerce has received grants to check out and analyze the soil for contaminants and to help determine what the land can safely be used for in the future.
You can read more about Exide’s negative impact on other communities here.
See stories below from local newspaper, TV and City of Frankfort:
Cleanup begins at Exide plant
Posted: Monday, October 22, 2012 4:00 am | Updated: 6:29 pm, Sun Oct 21, 2012.
BY SPENCER ROUSH firstname.lastname@example.org
City and county officials are overseeing the cleanup and demolition of the long-standing Exide Battery site, which is already under way, for environmental purposes.
The entire project is being privately funded through Exide Battery, and it’s expected to be completed by December. Building Inspector Sam Payne reached out to the company — which hasn’t operated in Frankfort for some time — in January about demolishing the structures, and Exide created a plan to tear down the facility.
“It’s a huge blighted area that is not going to be there,” McBarnes said. “I’d rather have nothing there than a huge eyesore.”
“We started reaching out and looking at buildings that need to come down. There are a few other places in mind … This is just one we really wanted to accomplish,” he added.
While the project is privately funded, there are many local agencies keeping an eye on the demolition for health and environmental hazards.
“In addition to a representative from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management monitoring this project, the Frankfort Building Services Department, the Frankfort Wastewater Treatment Utility and the Clinton County Board of Health will be monitoring the progress of this demolition on behalf of the community,” Payne said in a prepared statement.
Before actual demolition can occur, the site and its interiors are being washed down. Payne said this is a large undertaking considering the vast size of the facility. The Exide plant has 145,000 square feet of structures, which doesn’t include the second floor, which is another 21,000 square feet, plus the 14,000 square-foot basement. The buildings on the site range from 100 to 20 years old.
All surfaces will be cleaned of visible contaminants before the structures can come down.
There are various precautionary measures in place, particularly to eliminate dust. Asbestos abatement measures and permits were all approved.
With a target on blighted areas, Frankfort officials see the demolition of the Exide Battery site as a step forward.
“By the holiday season we’ll have this building to the ground,” McBarnes said. “This is a big win for the city, and it’s a big win for neighborhood revitalization.”
After the structures are down, the next step is unclear and depends on how Exide Battery will proceed.
McBarnes said there are two options, the city could purchase the property for economic development opportunities or help Exide market the site. Until any plans are in place, an environmental study will likely be conducted to determine the environmental impact on the soil.
“As far as redevelopment opportunities, nothing can happen until it’s taken down to the slab,” McBarnes said. “Redevelopment starts with taking it down.”
Exide Battery building is coming down in Frankfort
Updated: Tuesday, 23 Oct 2012, 7:44 PM EDT
Published : Tuesday, 23 Oct 2012, 6:26 PM EDT
FRANKFORT, Ind. (WLFI) – More than 100 years of history is coming down in Frankfort. City officials said what was most recently the Exide Battery plant should be completely demolished by December.
However, demolishing a former battery factory, which once housed hazardous chemicals, is something done with extra precaution. Frankfort Building Inspector Sam Payne is monitoring the process.
“[The plant] had lead and acid, and such materials they made the batteries with,” Payne said. “[The workers] are washing down all the desks, sucking it all up, and decontaminating the whole building before taking it down.”
“A large 85-foot boom will go above some of those facilities and will provide a mist down upon them so that dust stays at an absolute minimum,” Frankfort Mayor Chris McBarnes said. “Barbed-wire fences are being put around the facility at this time to make sure no one can get into that area.”
Production stopped at the plant more than 20 years ago. Exide Battery decided to demolish the buildings. News 18 called Exide Battery executives to ask why they’re demolishing now. That call was not returned.
The EPA, city building inspector, and other county and city officials will monitor the project to make sure effects on residents and the environment are as little as possible.
“At the end of the day, it’s a blighted area in this community, and neighborhood revitalization is of top importance,” McBarnes said.
The Clinton County Chamber of Commerce just received grants to be used to help examine the land. City and county officials hope it will help determine what they can use the land for. Residents in the neighborhood have some ideas of their own.
“You drive here, and you sit on your porch in the summer, and this is all you see,” Frankfort Resident Carolyn Lewis, who lives across from the plant, said. “[I] would like to see some activity over there. I would like to see a strip mall. [I could] go shopping, and do something.”
McBarnes said there can be no planning about what will be built on the 145,000-square-foot lot until the buildings are completely demolished.
Demolition underway on Exide Battery building
Dust control measures in place
Frankfort, IN – Demolition is underway at the Exide Battery building at 555 Hoke Avenue, with Brandenburg Contractors removing dust from and washing down the interior of the building as well as beginning the decontamination process.
According to Frankfort Building Inspector Sam Payne, a variety of measures is in place to help protect the immediate and surrounding area of the demolition, including dust control and careful monitoring.
“In addition to a representative from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management monitoring this project, the Frankfort Building Services Department, the Frankfort Wastewater Treatment Utility and the Clinton County Board of Health will be monitoring the progress of this demolition on behalf of the community.
“While this demolition project is being privately funded by Exide Battery, we are making sure the area is well monitored all the way around the facility. The company plans to have the demolition completed by December. We will be watching the progression closely as the contractor takes the building to the ground, fills in sump holes and plugs off all drains to the City’s wastewater, capping them to protect the environment,” Payne said.
Prior to the decontamination and demolition, the contractor installed appropriate dust control measures. Dust suppression using water or water mist will be performed to prevent dust without creating excessive puddling or any run-off.
Aerosol monitors and visual observations will be used continuously with the aerosol monitors read every ten minutes. These monitors will be equipped with an alarm system and the contractor is responsible for recording data. Data results will be downloaded and reviewed by the contractor and provided to Exide officials.
All surfaces will be cleaned until every surface when viewed is free of all visible contaminated material. Sediment and erosion control measures have been taken. Asbestos abatement measures and permits were approved.
The Exide Battery site features 145,000 square feet of structures plus an additional 21,000 square feet of second floor space and 14,000 square feet in the basement. The facility is a collection of buildings ranging in age from approximately 100 years old to less than 20 years old.