FRISCO (CBSDFW.COM) – Exide Technologies has hired two companies to collect battery case fragments, and other potentially hazardous waste in Stewart Creek as part of the state-mandated clean-up.
The city of Frisco says for more than 40 years, the potentially hazardous pollutants flowed into the creek from the now closed car battery recycling plant, which for years had exceeded federal air quality standards for lead.
But on May 8, as crews worked in a field near two schools at Legacy Drive and Stonebrook Parkway, they somehow lost a bucket with seven battery case fragments placed inside. Crews from the two companies Exide hired reported placing the bucket in the back of a pick-up truck. But the crews said the tailgate wasn’t secured, and that the bucket apparently fell out of the truck while they drove back to the Exide plant.
City officials said they are worried someone took the bucket without realizing it could have hazardous material in it.
Meghan Green is a Frisco homeowner who pushed for Exide’s plant to shut down. “When I first heard the news, I thought, is this a joke? How irresponsible — this is outrageous.”
After crews couldn’t find the bucket, they told the city they came right back out to the field to look for it, but “had no luck.”
They also checked the parking lot of Beaver’s Bend Park, across from one of the schools, where they had stopped along the way, and still didn’t find it. An Exide spokesman said the fragments are each the size of a quarter, and that any lead remaining on the battery cases would have washed off either in the creek or the rain.
The spokesman also said the city tested similar fragments last year and found they weren’t hazardous. Frisco doesn’t have any regulatory power.
Mack Borchardt of the city of Frisco said he’s surprised, since they were assured going into this process by Exide that there wouldn’t be any problems with the system in place.
“Obviously, that didn’t turn out to be the case,” said Borchardt.
The Texas Commission for Environmental Quality, which does have regulatory power and is overseeing the clean-up, was present the day the bucket was misplaced.
In a letter to the TCEQ, the city called for a formal transportation protocol and as a result, new procedures are in place to prevent this from happening again.
A spokesman with the Texas Commission of Environmental Quality says it’s worked with all concerned parties, and that the new protocols should ensure safety.
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