Parsons Environment and Infrastructure Group Inc., a unit of Pasadena-based Parsons Corp., has been added as a contractor to clean up properties near the former Exide Technologies battery recycling plant, the state Department of Toxic Substances Control announced Oct. 10.

Parsons and its partner company, Innovative Construction Solutions of Brookfield, Wis., will clean up to 1,610 properties near the former Exide plant, in the cities of Los Angeles and Maywood and in unincorporated East Los Angeles. The Parsons team joins the existing contractor, NEC Construction Inc., which is focusing on cleanup of properties in Bell, Commerce, Huntington Park and Vernon.

The Exide plant in Vernon, which had operated under several owners for 90 years, shut down three years ago after it was revealed that properties around the plant were contaminated with lead. Initially, the 200 properties closest to the plant were targeted for cleanup. But subsequent investigations by state and local authorities eventually concluded that about 10,000 properties in the region were contaminated with lead traced back to the Exide plant, with about three-fourths of those properties exceeding state standards for lead concentrations for residential properties.

Last year, responding to pressure from local residents and elected officials about the slow pace of the cleanup, Gov. Jerry Brown allocated an additional $176 million in state funds to both broaden and speed up the remediation. It is those funds the state tapped into to hire the Parsons/Innovative Construction Solutions team. The announcement from the Department of Toxic Substances Control did not specify whether all those funds had been earmarked for the Parsons-led team.

But the announcement did say that the contract for Parsons/Innovative Construction Solutions team requires the contractors to comply with a project labor agreement with the Los Angeles/Orange County Building Trades Council. The PLA mandates local hire goals and paying workers prevailing wages in exchange for a commitment by union workers not to engage in strikes or other work stoppages.

Economy, education, energy and transportation reporter Howard Fine can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @howardafine.

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