Source: San Gabriel Valley Tribune (CA), April 15, 2014
Posted on: http://envfpn.advisen.com
Exide Technologies, a battery recycling plant facing numerous health code violations since 2007, has been releasing “high levels of lead emissions” for 18 consecutive days after operations were shut down on March 22, according to the air pollution officials.
The new toxic air monitor placed at the northeast corner of the Exide property, at 2700 S. Indiana St., continued to record lead concentrations above acceptable levels, according to the South Coast Air Quality Management District.
The SCAQMD says the lead in the air detected by the new monitor is coming from the Exide plant, most likely during maintenance operations.
“For this reason, Exide needs to treat its plant like a hazardous waste site during maintenance and renovation work,” said Barry Wallerstein, SCAQMD’s executive officer.
Exide’s plant manager did not return two phone calls by press time Monday.
The SCAQMD filed a petition Friday with its Hearing Board to stop Exide from any activities that are causing the lead releases.
Last week, the SCAQMD Hearing Board denied a request by Exide to not meet the April 10 deadline to use negative pressure to keep the lead from reaching the atmosphere and falling into the soil of backyards near the plant during lead smelting.
Exide was denied a motion in Los Angeles Superior Court in a similar matter last week.
Lead emissions, either in the air or in the soil, can particularly endanger the health of children and pregnant women. The plant in Vernon can potentially endanger the health of more than 100,000 southeast Los Angeles County residents, air quality officials reported.
Lead exposure can lead to learning disabilities, especially in developing brains.
Exide Technologies is one of two such battery recycling plants west of the Rocky Mountains and has been in operation since 1922. The plant recycles between 23,000 and 41,000 batteries a day.
After being ordered by the SCAQMD to shut down and install stricter controls, Exide says it has been working toward that goal. The company has applied for a permit to install extra scrubbers and other controls to collect toxic emissions before they slip through the smokestack and into the air, plant manager John Hogarth said in January. That will cost the company about $11 million, Hogarth said.
Those stricter controls will bring the company’s total environmental and public health investment in the Vernon facility to more than $20 million since 2010, according to a statement on its website.