Exide Employees Concerned After City Council Rejected Cleanup Plan

FRISCO (CBSDFW.COM) – The Frisco City Council has joined a group of residents who want a longtime Battery Recycling facility to move out.

On Tuesday night, a unanimous decision paved the way for the city to force Exide Technologies to close after nearly 50 years because of concerns over neighborhood lead contamination.

Longtime employees like Raymond Dimas could lose their job if that happens.

“It took me years to develop what I know now,” says Dimas.

The 51-year-old has been a lead refiner at Exide’s Battery Recycling plant for more than 30 years.

He spoke at Frisco’s City Council meeting Tuesday night where concerned citizens called for the facility to be shut down because emissions of lead around plant have in the past exceeded safe levels.

There’s “a lot of new residents coming in and I don’t blame them for being scared,” said Dimas. “I was scared when I first started here but my lead blood level has never been high.”

Plant officials say only three of its 130 employees tested recently have higher than normal lead levels in their blood.

They’ve been moved to other jobs around the facility until those levels drop, said Plant Manager Don Barar during an exclusive tour of the facility Wednesday.

“You can see what these folks do the pride they show in their work,” says Don Barar, Plant Manager.

Barar says Exide will go to court if necessary to continue operating as it has since 1965.

He says air monitors around the plant show improvement and that a R20 million renovation is underway to improve safety.

Five buildings on the 270-acre site are scheduled for major modifications that management says will bring them up to new federal standards.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality ordered a study last April after the plant failed to meet federal air quality standards.

The results of that study, released in September, found 18 violations, including ones that alleged the recycling plant exhibited lapses in employee training and did not properly discharge of hazardous waste.

The tour required protective gear that employees that officials say helps keep lead from leaving the plant as much as it protects those who wear it.

Dimas called the protective gear a minor inconvenience. The father of four wears it each day and said he hopes the city will give the plant more time to change so he doesn’t lose his job.

“I have 3 girls ages 10, 12 and 20.  Give us a chance let us do what we do best and work together,” says Dimas.

More from J.D. Miles
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  • Get ready to pay

    Get rid of the Exide Plant??? Expect to pay Frisco. You just think that you can vote and have them move. I hope they sue the city for every cent they can. Don’t bi*ch the next time your city taxes go up….because they will. No one wants to talk about the cost of this endeavor, but get ready to pay up. Oh, and before you start weighing in on there is no cost too great for clean air and blah blah chemicals blah blah. Just know you drive your fossil fuel vehicles just fine without any remorse…(read about all the chemicals vehicles put back in the air)…I don’t see any of you getting rid of your vehicles anytime soon. Typical hypocrites.

  • noemail

    Get ready to pay – do some research before opening your mouth. Do you have any clue WHAT lead poisoning is, and what it does to human beings? There isn’t enough money that Exide can pay that would adequately compensate the HUMAN BEINGS being harmed by Exide’s illegal POISONING of the air around you.

    But since you’ve basically SOLD OUT every human being in Frisco for a quick buck, I don’t imagine you really care how many people suffer in Frisco just so long as the check clears.

    Grow a conscience then get back to the rest of us.

    • re: noemail

      You need to do the research. First, what Exide is doing is not illegal, they have been doing it for the past 50 years. Secondly, there has been no one, I repeat NO ONE found to have lead poisoning. We are talking about the detection of lead in the air, that’s not lead poisoning. Wasn’t there a round of blood tests in which not one person in Frisco had abnormally high elevated lead in their system??? You are a part of Fear Mongering, the process by a few people convince a larger group of people that they should be scared of something,

    • DownWithFrisco

      I have no sympathy when those playing with fire burn themselves. The plant existed well before the houses. These people failed to do their due diligence. I have no sympathy for them. And now, because of their ignorance, people could like lose their jobs.

      I am so sick of the entitlement mentality in this country.

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