NEW YORK Troubled battery maker Exide Technologies Ltd. has one month to develop a new health risk reduction plan for its lead smelting facility in Vernon, Calif., after Californias South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) rejected its initial proposal last week.
Milton, Ga.-based Exide was required to develop a risk reduction plan after an assessment earlier this year determined that it posed a health risk to more than 250,000 residents in southeast Los Angeles County, primarily due to arsenic emissions, according to the AQMD.
"Exide has taken initial steps to reduce its arsenic emissions," Barry R. Wallerstein, AQMDs executive officer for the South Coast, said in a statement. "However, these steps, along with additional improvements proposed in their plan, are still not adequate to protect the health of residents in nearby communities."
The AQMD, in an Oct. 24 letter to Exide executives, outlined deficiencies in the battery makers risk reduction plan and suggested immediate upgrades to existing pollution control systems.
News of the rejection came just one week after AQMD attorneys filed a petition with an independent administrative law panel that would require Exide to shutter all lead smelting operations at the Vernon plant until its air pollution control systems are deemed adequate to control arsenic emissions (amm.com, Oct. 21).
The panel is expected to conduct hearings on the proposed order in December.
An Exide spokeswoman didnt respond to a request for comment.