Exide Technologies - Ambient Monitoring and Source Tests

Ambient Monitoring Around Exide Facility

In the fall of 2007, South Coast AQMD began a focused investigation of lead emissions at Exide Technologies, a lead-acid battery recycling plant in Vernon, following a public complaint alleging particulate and dust fallout from the plant. South Coast AQMD placed several new particulate sample collection plates around the facility and, based on detection of lead in the collected samples, installed additional air monitors near the plant and collected ambient air data from mid-November 2007. South Coast AQMD currently operates three monitors at different distances from Exide Technologies facility’s perimeter. Air samples collected by South Coast AQMD are analyzed for lead and arsenic concentrations. In addition, Exide currently operates five “fence-line” lead monitors near the property line to satisfy the monitoring requirements of Rule 1420.1. Air samples are generally collected on a 1-in-3 day schedule, although more frequent sampling is often conducted at sites where higher measured concentrations have been observed.    

SCAQMD Air Monitoring Locations around Exide

                          South Coast AQMD Air Monitoring Locations around Exide

Average lead concentrations (reported as monthly averages) recorded at many of the monitors consistently exceeded both the Federal Standard for lead and the limit established by South Coast AQMD’s Rule 1420.1 (0.15 μg/m3) until the end of 2011. However, the monitoring data show an overall decreasing trend in lead levels since the adoption of Rule 1420.1 in 2008. Lead concentrations measured at all monitoring sites have been below the Federal 0.15 μg/m3 3-month average limit since all requirements of Rule 1420.1 became fully effective in January 2012. Click for more information on recent violations of Rule 1420.1 ambient limits for lead.

Monthly lead

                    Monthly-average Lead concentration trends around Exide

Rolling 30-day average Lead concentration trends around Exide
            Rolling 30-day average Lead concentration trends around Exide

Arsenic concentrations recorded at all monitors in 2012 (reported as monthly averages) were consistently above the average arsenic level measured during the fourth Multiple Air Toxics Exposure Study (MATES IV), a study conducted by the South Coast AQMD to characterize the carcinogenic risk from exposure to air toxics. On April 24, 2013 the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) ordered Exide Technologies to suspend operations. A subsequent court decision allowed Exide to begin resumption of operations the last week of June, 2013. Operations were suspended again in mid-March 2014 due to maintenance work and have yet to be resumed. The temporary suspension of all activities has lowered the ambient arsenic concentrations near the facility close to background levels.  There have been two exceedances of the South Coast AQMD Rule 1420.1 24-hour ambient arsenic limit of 10 ng/m3 in September 2018. These elevated arsenic concentrations on September 7 and 8, 2018 were attributed to a fire at a cold storage facility upwind of Exide. The fire occurred on the night of September 7 and continued into the early morning of September 8, and affected the ambient air samples for both days.  There was no corresponding increases in lead concentrations in the sample results.  Bulk sampling at the site of the fire indicated the presence of arsenic. 

Monthly-average Arsenic concentration trends around Exide 
                Monthly-average Arsenic concentration trends around Exide

The following links provide the full set of lead and arsenic data collected near the Exide facility.

Source Test Results

South Coast AQMD staff has conducted a series of source tests measuring the emissions of lead, arsenic, and other metals from Exide’s stacks in 2013. The reports from these tests are provided below. However, the sources identified through those source tests are no longer in operation.   

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