SACRAMENTO, CA – The California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) has started cleanup of lead-contaminated soil in an expanded area around the Exide Technologies facility in Vernon.
This marks the beginning of the next phase of a project that has already resulted in the cleanup of 186 residential yards and the removal of more than 10,000 tons of lead-contaminated soil from residential yards in Boyle Heights, Maywood, and East Los Angeles.
In late August, DTSC secured $7 million to pay for field work through June 30, 2016, and has developed a sampling and cleanup plan for residential properties within a 1.7 mile radius of the Exide facility, which staff presented at a public advisory group meeting in October.
DTSC’s plan identified three focused areas to the north, south, and east of the Exide facility. Residents in those focused areas are encouraged to contact DTSC as soon as possible to have their yards sampled for possible lead contamination. Residents outside of the focused area and still within 1.7 miles of the Exide Facility can also ask to have their properties sampled, and will be addressed as resources and scheduling permits.
DTSC uses a hand-held X-ray fluorescence device (XRF) that quickly analyzes the metals in a soil sample. This method of sampling analysis allows DTSC to rapidly identify properties for priority cleanup. Many homes around Exide may have lead-based paint that could re-contaminate properties after they have been cleaned up and can continue to pose a health risk to residents.
DTSC will work with local government agencies to obtain money from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for lead-based paint abatement.
To date, DTSC has required Exide to set aside approximately $26 million to safely close the facility; has analyzed the results from nearly 20,000 soil samples from residential and nonresidential properties around the Exide facility; has participated in 14 public meetings and other forums to keep the community informed; has helped establish an Exide Technologies Advisory Group to advise the Department on cleanup and closure procedures; and has worked closely with local, state, and federal agencies to leverage resources to ensure the closure and cleanup are completed in a way that protects human health and the environment.
The cleanup of nearby residential areas and the safe closure of the Exide Vernon Facility are among the Department’s highest priorities.