May 21, 2020: Quemetco, the lead battery recycling company based near the City of Industry in California, US, has agreed to pay a $600,000 fine for violating emissions regulations, the local regulator said on May 8.
The South Coast Air Quality Management District posted on its Facebook page that a settlement had been reached with the company after violations were identified during inspections of the plant between 2017 and 2019.
“The violations include not minimizing dust emissions; reporting requirements; emissions of lead, arsenic, and 1,3 butadiene that exceeded rule limits; and not maintaining negative pressure in the building enclosure. Due to the arsenic and lead emissions-related violations, Quemetco was ordered to temporarily reduce operations at its facility.”
Daniel Kramer, spokesperson for Quemetco, told BESB: “The SCAQMD settlement agreement resolved all historic, outstanding NOVs with the South Coast Air Quality Management District without litigation.
“Contrary to some reports, the settlement does not mandate a reduction in production. It paves the way for future permit modifications that will allow the facility to operate more efficiently.
“Quemetco is operating as a designated essential business and supporting customer demands for recycling hazardous waste materials in compliance with all applicable rules and regulations.”
In February 2019, the LA County Board of Supervisors opposed an application by Quemetco to expand its facility to operate for seven days a week, between 20 and 24 hours a day.
It already processes 10 million used lead acid batteries a year and produces 120,000 tons of lead.
The facility is near the former Exide Technologies recycling plant, at Vernon, which was shut down in 2016 for alleged health and safety violations and pollution.
Exide has always refuted the allegations, saying come of the contamination has been proven to have come from sources such as aviation fuel and paint.