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Lead contamination from the Exide Technologies battery recycling plant in Vernon may extend to as many as 10,000 homes in Maywood, Huntington Park, East Los Angeles and Boyle Heights over a much larger area than previously thought, The Los Angeles Times reported on Friday.
The California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) said in a press call with reporters that it now believes the facility’s lead contamination extends through an expanded area nearly 2 miles North and South of the Vernon plant and that the cleanup will cost a lot more than expected.
The state agency had previously estimated that less than 200 homes in close proximity to the plant required cleanup and budgeted $9 million for the work.
In March Exide reached a deal with the federal government and agreed to pay at least $50 million to demolish and clean the 15-acre facility and remove lead contamination from nearby homes.
At a July 23 community meeting, officials from the DTSC refused to respond to a story by KCAL-TV that claimed the number of homes contaminated in the 2-mile radius around the Vernon plant was much larger than 200.
The new revelations by the state agency came after a meeting with local community leaders on Thursday night that according to KCAL-TV was held behind closed doors. In the call with reporters on Friday the state agency said that no new properties had high enough lead levels to require immediate action under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s guidelines.
On Friday Exide said in a statement that its own analysis of soil sample results concluded that soil contamination from the Vernon plant is limited.
Here’s the story from KCAL: