California environmental regulators released a plan for cleaning lead-impacted homes near the former Exide battery-recycling plant in Vernon. About 2,500 properties with the most contaminated soil will be included as part of the two-year plan.
Last month, hundreds of Los Angeles County health officials and volunteers canvassed in a 1.7-mile radius around the former Exide Technologies battery plant. They were gathering information because of suspected decades of lead emissions from the shuttered facility.
The Exide plant was shut down in 2015 permanently by the U.S. Department of Justice. The company was also ordered to pay $50 million to clean up the site and nearby neighborhoods. It originally stopped operating in 2014 due to lead contamination.
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The cleanup effort will be conducted at properties within 1.7 miles of the plant, prioritizing:
- homes with soil lead concentrations of 400 parts per million or higher;
- residential properties with the overall lead concentration is less that 400 parts per million, but where any individual soil sampling was determined to have a concentration of 1,000 ppm or higher;
- daycare and child care centers with soil lead concentrations of 80 ppm or higher that have not yet been cleaned; and
- all parks and schools in need of cleaning.
Additional properties could be cleaned if funding is available, officials said. The Exide plant permanently closed in March 2015. When Exide agreed to close the lead-acid battery recycling plant, it committed to pay $50 million for cleanup of the site and surrounding neighborhoods.
Of that amount, $26 million is meant to be set aside for residential cleanup. Last year, Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation providing $176.6 million in funding for environmental testing and cleanup work in neighborhoods surrounding the now-shuttered plant, with the testing expected to cover about 10,000 properties.