NEW YORK Troubled battery maker Exide Technologies Ltd. will invest more than $7 million over the next two years to upgrade its Vernon, Calif., battery recycling facility.
The upgrades are part of an agreement with the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) to resolve issues stemming from a suspension order in April that idled the Vernon plant for more than seven weeks (amm.com, April 25), the company said.
"We continue to strive to make our Vernon plant a premier recycling facility, and consider the health and safety of the community and our work force a top priority," Exide president and chief executive officer Robert M. Caruso said in a statement. "Exide has taken aggressive steps to install new equipment at the plant, and those efforts have paid off in substantially reducing emissions."
The capital investment is intended to improve the facilitys compliance with environmental standards and reduce air emission levels below regulatory health risk thresholds. Exide will replace on-site underground stormwater piping with a more advanced double-walled system, the company said, and also will begin installing additional high-efficiency filters to reduce emissions.
"We are encouraged by Exides efforts to respond to our concerns, but this is not the end of our efforts to address the conditions at the Exide facility," Brian Johnson, deputy director of DTSCs hazardous waste program, said in a statement. "While this resolves the order for temporary suspension, we are not walking away. We fully expect them to pay attention to the community and to the regulatory agencies, and we expect a prompt response to our requests to address any concern we raise."