Exide Technologies in Veron, Calif. Photo by Art Torres
The California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) ordered Exide to suspend operations April 24 to prevent “an imminent and substantial danger to the public,” primarily to more than 110,000 Southeast community residents and workers.
The DTSC based its order on a January report provided by Exide that showed its operation posed health risks associated with continuous hazardous metals and other toxic substances leaking from its wastewater pipes. Additionally, the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) found the company to be releasing dangerous levels of arsenic emissions.
The plant’s closure affected more than two-thirds of its employees who were temporarily laid-off, many of which lived in the affected communities. Two months after the shutdown, Exide challenged the closure in court and on June 17 Superior Court Judge Luis A. Lavin allowed the company to reopen temporarily.
The same judge granted Exide’s request for a preliminary injunction Tuesday under several conditions: Exide must use the recently installed piping and sump system, conduct source testing to confirm emissions reductions to the DTSC and the AQMD, and that it must comply with AQMD air emission rules.
Exide released a statement July 2 following Lavin’s order which read in part, “We are pleased with the Judge’s decision today that allows us to remain open at our Vernon plant and continue full battery recycling production.”
Exide also stated the implementation of planned storm water and air quality control improvements is under way and that the company is now operating with a full workforce of 130 employees.