Long history of violations a warning for plant users.
Between 1990 and 2015, Excide Technologies and it predecessors received approximately $2 million in penalties, which represents more than 100 violations of California’s hazardous waste laws. Now, due to continued non-compliance, on March 12, 2015 the DTSC issued an order to close the Vernon, CA plant.
With Excide in Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection since June of 2013, one of the main concerns has been the company’s ability to ensure adequate funding for safely closing the facility and the complete cleanup of lead contamination in the surrounding community.
A recent agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice, will help ensure that the company provides funding to meet its obligations. Under the settlement, Exide will avoid criminal charges related to its operation of the plant, in exchange for agreeing to close the facility in compliance with DTSC requirements.
“We have been working on a plan for closure for a number of weeks” said DTSC Director Barbara Lee. “In keeping with our commitment to the community, our priority now is to ensure the safe closure of the Exide plant and to complete the cleanup of contaminated yards in the surrounding neighborhoods.”
While the users of the Excide facility have not been tapped to help pay for the cleanup, this situation is a good reminder that hazardous waste generators may be ultimately held at least partially responsible for facility closure and cleanup costs. Excide’s long history of violations and bankruptcy filing were a red flag to any responsible waste management provider. One way to help avoid situations like this is to use a fully certified, permitted and conscientious waste management provider.