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EXIDE FRISCO BREAKING NEWS: Potentially hazardous waste from Exide lead smelter missing in Frisco

CBS Dallas/Fort Worth

Potentially Hazardous Waste From Exide Plant Missing In Frisco

May 21, 2014 7:15 PM

By Jack Fink

FRISCO (CBSDFW.COM) – Exide Technologies has hired two companies to collect battery case fragments, and other potentially hazardous waste in Stewart Creek as part of the state-mandated clean-up.

The city of Frisco says for more than 40 years, the potentially hazardous pollutants flowed into the creek from the now closed car battery recycling plant, which for years had exceeded federal air quality standards for lead.

But on May 8, as crews worked in a field near two schools at Legacy Drive and Stonebrook Parkway, they somehow lost a bucket with seven battery case fragments placed inside. Crews from the two companies Exide hired reported placing the bucket in the back of a pick-up truck. But the crews said the tailgate wasn’t secured, and that the bucket apparently fell out of the truck while they drove back to the Exide plant.

City officials said they are worried someone took the bucket without realizing it could have hazardous material in it. Meghan Green is a Frisco homeowner who pushed for Exide’s plant to shut down.  “When I first heard the news, I thought, is this a joke? How irresponsible — this is outrageous.”

After crews couldn’t find the bucket, they told the city they came right back out to the field to look for it, but “had no luck.” They also checked the parking lot of Beaver’s Bend Park, across from one of the schools, where they had stopped along the way, and still didn’t find it.

An Exide spokesman said the fragments are each the size of a quarter, and that any lead remaining on the battery cases would have washed off either in the creek or the rain. The spokesman also said the city tested similar fragments last year and found they weren’t hazardous.

Frisco doesn’t have any regulatory power. Mack Borchardt of the city of Frisco said he’s surprised, since they were assured going into this process by Exide that there wouldn’t be any problems with the system in place. “Obviously, that didn’t turn out to be the case,” said Borchardt.

The Texas Commission for Environmental Quality, which does have regulatory power and is overseeing the clean-up, was present the day the bucket was misplaced. In a letter to the TCEQ, the city called for a formal transportation protocol and as a result, new procedures are in place to prevent this from happening again. A spokesman with the Texas Commission of Environmental Quality says it’s worked with all concerned parties, and that the new protocols should ensure safety.



New Cleanup Procedures in Place After Bucket with Exide battery chips falls off truck and is still missing

New procedures are in place for cleanup of waste from the Exide Technologies battery recycling plant after a bucket containing some battery chips fell off the back of a pickup truck earlier this month.

It hasn’t been found.

No one can say whether the plastic pieces from recycled automotive batteries were hazardous. Exide spokesman David Margulies said other battery chips previously collected from the creek area by the city were tested and found not to be hazardous. These chips were collected from sediment and a creek bank wall. “Hopefully people will not be alarmed,” he said.

Exide’s consultants were working under an approved cleanup plan for the Stewart Creek area that addresses immediate exposure concerns with slag and battery chips that may be easily accessible in the creek. Representatives from the city and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality were present as well to monitor the work.

According to a report from the city’s consultants, crews had started work just after 8 a.m. May 8 near Legacy Drive and Stonebrook Parkway but suspended work a little more than an hour later because of a pending storm. A 5-gallon bucket with seven battery chips that had been collected that morning was placed in the back of a pickup truck. But the tailgate wasn’t secured. The bucket apparently fell out sometime between 9:10 a.m. and 9:50 a.m. between that area and the Exide property on Fifth Street, according to the report.

The white bucket that was lost had an “Academy” logo stamped on it and a black lid, according to the report.

In a letter dated May 14 to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, city attorneys stated that the city “would not allow further access to city property on Stewart Creek until this matter is resolved.”

The approved protocols address the city’s concerns, and crews are now back at work, said Mack Borchardt, special assistant to the city manager in Frisco. “It was unprofessional to lose the bucket,” he said. “We were concerned.”

“We have worked with all the parties involved, and the protocols outlined in the memo should ensure safety,” TCEQ spokesman Terry Clawson said.

The protocols spell out how the waste will be handled and removed. They also require all containers to be labeled with the project’s name and include the phrase: “Potentially Hazardous Waste – Currently Being Analyzed.” The containers will also include Exide’s Frisco address and phone numbers for people to call if the containers are found.


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