EXIDE FRISCO BREAKING NEWS: PUBLIC COMMENTS ACCEPTED THROUGH SEPT. 24 — Proposal for closing contaminated lead smelter’s landfill is key step in Frisco’s cleanup plans with Exide
The proposed final closure plan for the landfill is available on Exide’s website at exidefriscoclosure.com.
Public comments will be accepted through Sept. 24.
DALLAS MORNING NEWS
Landfill proposal a key step in Exide cleanup plan
Aerial photograph shows abandoned structures on the former site of Exide Technologies in Frisco.
Exide Technologies has turned in its plan for closing the Class 2 landfill at its shuttered Frisco plant.
The proposal, which is still under review by local and state officials, is a key step in the cleanup process for the company that emerged from bankruptcy protection earlier this year.
Still to come are Exide’s plans for cleaning up the widespread contamination identified on and around its property that borders the Dallas North Tollway. The Frisco site was home to a secondary lead smelter and battery recycling facility that accepted used industrial and automotive batteries beginning in the 1960s. Exide shut down the plant nearly three years ago.
Its proposed landfill closure plan follows the terms of an agreed order approved in April by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality after several violations were found.
That order calls for keeping the hazardous waste found in the landfill in place even though Exide wasn’t permitted to dispose of it there. The alternative was to dig up the hazardous waste and transport it elsewhere. But that option, favored by some residents and an environmental group, proved to be too costly and carried greater risks of further contamination.
The order also designates the landfill as a “corrective action management unit.” That federal designation brings with it added protections for closure beyond what’s required for nonhazardous waste. In addition, the designation lets the landfill accept waste collected during the cleanup of the rest of Exide’s property.
“It’s a very important step in the process,” said Mack Borchardt, who is overseeing the Exide cleanup process for the city of Frisco.
Exide officials declined to comment. The company is setting aside $1.8 million as required to cover the estimated costs of the landfill’s closure and post-closure monitoring.
Public comments on the proposal will be accepted until Sept. 24. TCEQ officials will be reviewing the plan, as well as any comments received, before deciding whether it needs revisions.
“Cleanup and closure of the facility is moving forward pursuant to standard TCEQ processes,” agency spokesman Terry Clawson said by email.
Exide ceased operations in November 2012 as part of an agreement with Frisco. That agreement called for the city to set aside $45 million to purchase about 180 acres of vacant land surrounding Exide’s operations. The city plans to use the land for development.
But Exide must first clean up the area, which is contaminated with heavy metals. The main contaminant is lead, which is toxic even in small amounts. Testing also has identified hazardous levels of arsenic, cadmium, antimony and selenium.
Once cleanup is done, Exide’s proposal details how it will cap the landfill to keep the contents in place. That cover, which will be about six feet deep, includes clay liners, clean fill and topsoil that will be seeded with vegetation to prevent erosion. There will also be a system to collect leachate, the liquid that drains from the landfill.
The area will be then fenced off to limit access.
Exide must make periodic inspections and monitor the landfill site for 30 years. When the period is up, an evaluation will determine whether the monitoring should continue.
Frisco City Manager George Purefoy said negotiations are ongoing with Exide over other cleanup aspects. The goal, he said, is to amend the 2012 agreement, which was put on hold when the company filed for bankruptcy in June 2013.
The city, for example, wants Exide to add a protective wall around the plant’s older landfills that have already been capped. That would help protect Stewart Creek, which runs through Exide’s property and drains into an area that the city has set aside to develop into a major amenity called Grand Park.
Details must also be worked out to remove the administrative office and the crystallizer building, which still treats stormwater runoff and other contaminated liquids at the site.
Any changes to the agreement would have to be approved by the Frisco City Council, as well as the boards for the city entities that put up the $45 million: the Economic Development Corp. and the Community Development Corp.
Cleanup at the Exide property has taken much longer than initially planned, but Purefoy remains optimistic that an end is in sight.
“I’m hopeful we’ll be able to finish cleanup in 24 months,” he said.