Reporting Jack Fink
FRISCO (CBSDFW.COM) - Shiby Mathew and her family in Frisco recently tested positive for lead in their blood. Even though the testing did not meet the government’s level of concern, Mathew is still worried about the Exide Technologies battery recycling plant located several miles away from her home.
“We’re talking about my health,” said Mathew, “my family’s health.”
There are only 16 areas in the nation that do not comply with federal air quality standards for lead. One of those areas is a nearly one and a half mile radius around the Frisco plant.
Earlier this year, Exide Technologies reached an agreement with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, to reduce lead levels and bring the plant into compliance. Now, the Environmental Protection Agency has found that plan to be unacceptable, and wants changes to make it enforceable.
In a letter to the TCEQ, the EPA explained that the current plan “is not approveable.” The state is now working with the EPA and Exide Technologies to develop a new plan that can be approved.
Frisco Mayor Maher Maso said that he supports the enforcement. “We want to make sure all guidelines are met. We want to make sure this plan does not harm our residents,” said Maso.
Last month, the EPA placed the Frisco recycling plant under an administrative order. Two inspections found potential soil, ground and surface water contamination, because of the plant’s activities. The EPA found high levels of lead and cadmium – a carcinogen – on the plant’s property near Stewart Creek.
Exide Technologies had 30 days to submit a plan to test the soils, groundwater and creek near the plant.
Last week, the TCEQ found similar problems, and ordered Exide Technologies to correct the problems, as well. In a statement, the company said, “Exide is committed to taking the necessary steps at its Frisco facility to become a world-class facility.”
Exide Technologies intends to spend $20 million to upgrade the plant and reduce the lead emissions. Ith as until the end of 2015 to comply with the federal air quality standards.
“I’m happy with the attention the plant’s been receiving,” Mathew told CBS 11 News, “but unless I see something actually done, I don’t think I’m going to be satisfied.”