State regulators on Wednesday issued eight violations of state hazardous waste laws against Exide Technologies’ battery recycling plant in Vernon.
The California Department of Toxic Substances Control issued the violations after department inspectors found that Exide was storing and treating sludge in unauthorized tanks at the Vernon facility. During site visits last week, inspectors also found evidence that the company failed to sufficiently protect against battery acid spills.
The visits were conducted as part of the department’s review of Exide’s application for a hazardous waste permit. The plant had been operating without such a permit for years and was shut down last year after it failed to meet new emission containment rules from the South Coast Air Quality Management District. It is currently operating under an interim state authorization.
State regulators have directed Exide to notify them within 10 days that the violations have ceased. Exide faces possible penalties and additional enforcement actions for these violations and the prospect of increased penalties if it fails to comply with the orders.
“The company must correct these violations, and we will consider them, along with the company’s enforcement history, when we make our permit decision,” DTSC Deputy Director Elise Rothschild said in a press release announcing the violations.
Exide Technologies, which is headquartered in Milton, Ga., filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in June 2013 and is still fighting with creditors about the terms of its re-emergence from bankruptcy.
Exide in a statement released Wednesday said it is working to fix the violations and that it is spending $15 million to upgrade the Vernon plant.
“The company is already taking action pursuant to the Notice and will continue to work with the DTSC so that all applicable standards and protocols are met. We intend to operate a premier recycling facility,” said Tom Strang, vice president, environment health and safety for the Americas at Exide Technologies.
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