EXIDE NEGATIVE IMPACT ON OTHER COMMUNITIES BREAKING NEWS: Missouri Department of Natural Resources cites Exide’s Forest City smelter in violation of federal laws for lead emissions from March through December 2013; Indiana Department of Environmental Management cites Exide lead smelter in Muncie for neglecting its contingency plan for emergencies such as fire, explosions and spills
MISSOURI DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES
Exide’s Forest City , MO, smelter
On June 26, 2o14, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources released its Air Quality Analysis for Lead which showed Exide’s Forest City lead smelter repeatedly exceeding federal law for lead emissions from March, 2013 through December, 2013.
CLICK HERE TO SEE THE REPORT – (See Page 2 and information about the “Forest CIty Area”)
THE STAR PRESS.COM – MUNICE, INDIANA
“While recycling hazardous lead-acid batteries keeps them from being dumped in landfills, illegally dumped or shipped to other countries where regulations are lacking, Exide’s recycling plants in Muncie and elsewhere often have been cited for environmental violations themselves.
Last year, Exide closed its Frisco, Texas, recycling plant — where an environmental cleanup is under way — and idled its Reading, Pa., recycling facility, the source of numerous environmental violations over the years. A ground water cleanup is taking place at Exide’s former Columbus, Ga., recycling facility.
In Vernon, Calif., Exide hopes to reopen a controversial recycling plant after it installs equipment to control arsenic emissions and takes steps to keep lead-contaminated dust from being released.
For now, Exide is recycling batteries only in Muncie and Canon Hollow, Mo., which has been accused of violating Missouri Air Conservation regulations and federal lead air quality standards. The company also operates two battery recycling plants in Europe.”
Exide’s future still up in the air
The battery recycler faces global bankruptcy reorganization, local ER contingency failures
A worker at the Exide Technologies factory in Muncie bands lead ingots. / The Star Press file photo
The Muncie Exide plant’s latest alleged environmental violation concern its contingency plan for emergencies. According to the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, inspections in December and January found the plant’s emergency response equipment would not have functioned as needed in an emergency because it was missing or in poor condition. For example, magnetic drain covers were folded, bent and torn; a fire extinguisher had not been inspected in more than two years; there was a shortage of 55-gallon drums for spills; and there was a one-gallon container, presumably an emulsifier, which acts like detergent during oil spills, with an illegible label, IDEM claimed. In addition, the plant’s environmental manager, who is listed in the contingency plan as an alternate emergency coordinator, was unaware of the location of the emergency response equipment (the Hazmat storage area), which had been moved to a new location. The relocation of the equipment was not noted in the contingency plan. Also, employees were not sure how to use emulsifiers/dispersants, and the plant’s health and safety manager was unaware of the existence of the fire extinguisher in the Hazmat storage area. The alleged violations have not yet been settled. Exide spokeswoman Kristin Wohlleben declined comment on the notice of violation because it is pending.
Last year, the company was cited for cracks and gaps in a containment building that could cause a fire or explosion; improper storage of hot kettle dross; improper storage of reverbatory furnace slag beyond a boundary; and brown-colored, lead-contaminated water along a storage area and rail spur as well as dead vegetation near a ditch leading to a storm drain. The company agreed to clean up the pollution and correct other violations. In 2009, Exide agreed to pay the state a $97,500 civil penalty for polluting the air in Muncie with lead. The company blamed the pollution on storm damage that eventually resulted in a fire of short duration in a rotary furnace dryer. In 2007, Exide paid a penalty of $115,400 for air violations at the Muncie facility on the heels of a $62,500 penalty for hazardous waste violations. The Muncie facility is called a secondary lead smelter. Primary lead is mined. Secondary lead is recovered from spent batteries.
Exide also operates battery recycling facilities in San Esteban de Gormaz, Spain, and Sonalur, Portugal. The company, which also operates manufacturing facilities and distribution centers throughout Europe and the United States, reported net sales of about $3 billion in fiscal year 2013. The deadline for Exide to file its bankruptcy plan of reorganization has been extended until July 31. The company filed a voluntary petition for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the federal bankruptcy laws on June 10, 2013. Exide anticipates emerging from Chapter 11 restructuring for its U.S. operations by the end of this year. But factors that could cause that to change include risks associated with operating under Chapter 11 protection; the ability to obtain additional financing; retaining key management and employees; the hazardous nature of lead, which might give rise to costly environmental and safety claims; fluctuations in the price of lead; recently adopted U.S. lead emissions standards, and the ability of the company to reopen its Vernon, Calif., plant, the company said. Contact news reporter Seth Slabaugh at (765) 213-5834. CLICK HERE TO READ STORY