Troubled battery maker Exide Technologies Ltd. has been ordered
to perform an emergency clean-up of dust, soil and sediment
near the companys Vernon, Calif., lead smelting
Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) issued the order
after laboratory analysis showed elevated levels of lead and
other contaminants in soil surrounding the recycling plant that
pose "an immediate threat to human health and the environment
... that will require implementing emergency response interim
In a Dec. 17 letter to
Exide, DTSC ordered the Milton, Ga.-based company to provide a
detailed work plan to perform the emergency response measures
by no later than Dec. 31. Additionally, work must be completed
by Jan. 31 and a final report issued no later than 15 days
after completion of the clean-up, DTSC said.
letter doesnt indicate where the high concentrations of
contaminants were found, but notes they were within 1,500 feet
of the plant and in two storm drains.
In April, the Vernon
plant was shut down after tests showed toxic substances were
being released into the soil (
amm.com, April 25).
Two months later, the
company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection (
amm.com, June 10), citing rising production costs,
compressed margins, intense domestic competition, exposure to
the struggling European market and constrained liquidity due to
downgrades from credit ratings agencies. A week after the
filing, Exide was granted a temporary reprieve by the Los
Angeles Superior Court that allowed the Vernon plant to reopen
amm.com, June 18) .
A spokeswoman for the
company didnt respond to requests for comment.