November 8, 2018: The Department of Toxic Substances Control in California has filed a complaint against Quemetco, the lead battery recycling company, for 29 alleged violations at its recycling plant at the City of Industry near Los Angeles, the DTSC announced on November 2.
The issues were picked up in multiple DTSC inspections and include a faulty leak-detection system, lack of a groundwater monitoring system and failure to minimize the possible release of hazardous waste into the environment.
All 29 alleged violations are detailed in the 39-page Complaint for Civil Penalties and Injunctive Relief document, which was filed with California attorney general Xavier Becerra on October 31.
Such violations would break terms in the California Hazardous Waste Control Law.
“DTSC has attempted to resolve these issues, and although some have been addressed, serious violations remain,” DTSC director Barbara Lee said.
“Facilities that process hazardous wastes must handle, store and treat them in compliance with our laws. DTSC is ensuring that they do.”
In August, the South Coast Air Quality Management District prepared a 103-page Notice of Preparation and Initial Study on a proposal by Quemetco to increase its operations at the site so that its rotary feed drying furnace could be fired up for 24 hours a day, processing 750 tons of feed material a day instead of 600. The amount of coke material processed would be 750,000 pounds a month, up from 600,000.
The amount of refined lead produced would increase from 460 tons a day to 575, an increase of 25%, if the proposal were agreed.
Quemetco, which is owned by Dallas, Texas-based RSR Corporation (an Ecobat company), recycles used lead batteries from vehicles and other lead-bearing scrap to reclaim lead and other recyclable materials.
The recycling process involves separating lead from other components, smelting the lead and refining it to meet customer specifications.
The company was founded in 1947 and the facility in the City of Industry has been in operation since 1959.
Quemetco holds a permit from DTSC to treat and store hazardous waste and the facility is subject to regular compliance inspections.
The company did not respond to requests for comment by BESB.