CA, California, Exide Vernon, Exide's Negative Impact on Other Communities, Lastest News

EXIDE VERNON BREAKING NEWS: SCAQMD files second Order of Abatement petition again Exide lead smelter expressing concerns that if plant resumed operations, Exide would be even more likely to continue violating regional/federal lead emission standards. Agency cites that even with smelter shut down, Exide exceeded lead emission standards for 18 consecutive days in March/April, and officials called one of the violations “knowing, willful and intentional.”

The South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) today filed a petition with its Hearing Board seeking to prohibit Exide Technologies from activities that have caused violations of the agency’s ambient lead standard on 18 consecutive days.

 “Exide’s facility is so contaminated with lead that they are causing violations of our ambient lead standard at an on-site monitor even when the plant is not operating,” said Barry Wallerstein, SCAQMD’s executive officer. “For this reason, Exide needs to treat its plant like a hazardous waste site during maintenance and renovation work.”

SOUTH COAST AIR QUALITY MANAGEMENT DISTRICT

NEWS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                        CONTACT:  Sam Atwood at SCAQMD April 11, 2014                                                              Tues-Fri, 7 a.m.-5:30 p.m.: (909) 396-3456

SCAQMD FILES SECOND PETITION AGAINST LEAD-ACID BATTERY FACILITY

IN VERNON TO STOP LEAD VIOLATIONS

 The South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) today filed a petition with its Hearing Board seeking to prohibit Exide Technologies from activities that have caused violations of the agency’s ambient lead standard on 18 consecutive days.

 “Exide’s facility is so contaminated with lead that they are causing violations of our ambient lead standard at an on-site monitor even when the plant is not operating,” said Barry Wallerstein, SCAQMD’s executive officer. “For this reason, Exide needs to treat its plant like a hazardous waste site during maintenance and renovation work.”

 In mid-March, Exide began shutting down its lead smelting operations in order to perform various construction and maintenance activities aimed at reducing its arsenic emissions.  Starting on March 22, an air monitor located at the northeast corner of the Exide’s property began registering high levels of lead emissions, exceeding SCAQMD lead standards on 18 consecutive days through April 8.

 The petition filed today alleges that if Exide were to reopen and resume lead-smelting operations, the facility would be even more likely to continue violating lead standards.

 SCAQMD continues to work on multiple fronts to compel Exide to reduce its toxic emissions and comply with existing regulations.  Earlier this week, the SCAQMD’s Hearing Board denied a request by Exide seeking relief from an April 10 deadline to maintain negative pressure while operating its two smelting furnaces.  A similar motion filed by Exide in Los Angeles Superior Court was denied on Monday. 

 In October 2013, the agency filed a previous petition with its Hearing Board – an independent administrative law panel — that would require Exide to stop its smelting operations until it can improve its air pollution control systems to reduce arsenic emissions.

  SCAQMD filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court in January seeking up to $40 million in penalties from Exide Technologies for numerous air quality violations due primarily to illegal emissions of lead and arsenic. Shortly after the case was filed, Exide submitted court papers transferring the case to federal court. On Wednesday, the federal court granted a motion by SCAQMD and found that Exide had improperly transferred the case and ordered that it be returned to state court for further legal proceedings.

 In early 2013, SCAQMD approved a Health Risk Assessment from Exide showing that the facility was causing an unacceptably high cancer risk for thousands of residents in southeast Los Angeles County primarily due to its arsenic emissions.  SCAQMD then required the facility to develop a risk reduction plan under the agency’s Rule 1402 and the state’s Toxic Hot Spots law. The agency rejected Exide’s first plan as inadequate but subsequently approved the company’s resubmitted plan last month.

 Exide Technologies, located at 2700 S. Indiana Street in Vernon, is one of only two lead-acid battery recycling plants west of the Rockies. In operation since 1922, the plant recycles 23,000 to 41,000 batteries daily.

  SCAQMD is the air pollution control agency for Orange County and major portions of Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Riverside counties.

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KPCC – SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA PUBLIC RADIO

Regional air regulators step up efforts to shutter Exide’s operations in Vernon

Molly Peterson with Steve Gregory | 

Exide

                                                                                                  Mae Ryan/KPCC

The Exide Technologies plant in Vernon, California is closed for maintenance, but has still racked up nearly 2 dozen air pollution violations from local regulators.

Pointing to numerous violations of lead pollution standards at the Exide Technologies battery recycling plant even while it’s closed, regulators at the South Coast Air Quality Management District are asking their independent review board to halt maintenance work at the Vernon facility. Exide has been shuttered since March 14th, while the company seeks to upgrade pollution control equipment. But the AQMD has issued seven notices of violations just this week, indicating that an ambient monitoring station recorded lead concentration in the air at levels higher than permitted for a 30-day rolling average. Air officials called one of the violations “knowing, willful and intentional.” “Exide’s facility is so contaminated with lead that they are causing violations of our ambient lead standard at an on-site monitor even when the plant is not operating,” said Barry Wallerstein, AQMD’s executive officer, in a written release. “For this reason, Exide needs to treat its plant like a hazardous waste site during maintenance and renovation work.” RELATED: Exide Technologies FAQ: Everything you need to know about recycling lead batteries in LA Maintenance work began at Exide March 22. Since that time, air regulators have issued more than a dozen and a half notices that the company’s operations were sending illegal amounts of lead into the air around the plant. Exide has sought to delay installation of pollution control devices, which are aimed at reducing the amount of arsenic released during its smelting operations. The deadline for that upgrade was April 10. Earlier this week, two such attempts by Exide to delay that deadline failed – one in court, one at the AQMD’s hearing board. RELATED: TIMELINE: Exide’s run-ins with regulators Calls and emails to representatives for Exide were not returned.

 @KPCCmolly on Twitter

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