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Battery Recycler Emitting Harmful Lead Emissions

The EPA says Exide Technologies’ battery recycling facility in Vernon, Calif., has violated the Clean Air Act’s lead emissions standards on more than 30 occasions.

The federal agency’s investigation of the facility is ongoing.

The EPA says its review of data collected from air quality monitors at locations on or around the facility showed average lead emissions above the federal standard from March 22 through April 19. In addition, excess emissions were monitored on or about Sept. 9, 2013, Sept. 18, 2013, and Jan. 2 through Jan. 3.

Federal clean air laws require areas with unhealthy air develop a State Implementation Plan (SIP) to implement, achieve and maintain EPA’s air quality standards. Under California’s SIP, large lead-acid battery recycling facilities are prohibited from emitting lead into the air that exceeds 0.15µg/m3 (micrograms per meter cubed) over any period of 30 consecutive days. Any violation of the SIP is a violation of the federal Clean Air Act.

The EPA says it is evaluating its enforcement options against the company. Exide faces a penalty of up to $37,500 per day for each violation based on federal law.

In January, a South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) report confirmed Exide had reduced arsenic emissions 95 percent at the Vernon facility.

 

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