Pacific Swell

Southern California environment news and trends

Exide, AQMD make plan to reduce arsenic risk around Vernon battery plant

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Air regulators and a lead battery recycler have agreed on a plan to reduce the health risks from arsenic pollution around the Exide Technologies plant in Vernon. 

A study last year found sharply elevated cancer risks for people working and living around the plant, in some places as much as 12 times higher than the level air officials deemed concerning. As a result, Exide is obligated to take steps to cut health risks.

Over the last seven months, the company has been submitting proposals for what's called a "risk reduction plan" to the South Coast Air Quality Management District.  What air regulators have now approved is the company’s third version of a plan.

Exide says it will spend $5 million this year on various emission-reduction upgrades at the plant.

Despite approving the plan, the air district separately is still trying to stop lead smelting at the plant temporarily until new pollution controls are installed.

TIMELINE: Exide's Run-ins with Regulators

AQMD’s approval of the risk plan came Wednesday, the same day angry neighbors of Exide turned out for a public meeting and renewed calls for the plant to be shut down. 

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