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Ambient Monitoring and Source Tests

Ambient Monitoring Around Exide Facility


In the fall of 2007, SCAQMD 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. SCAQMD 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 continuously from mid-November 2007. SCAQMD currently operates three lead monitors at different distances from Exide Technologies facility’s perimeter. In addition, Exide operates six “fence-line” lead monitors near the property line to satisfy the monitoring requirements of Rule 1420.1. Lead 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. Air samples collected by SCAQMD for lead analysis can also be analyzed for arsenic. SCAQMD has reanalyzed lead samples collected since the beginning of 2012.    

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 SCAQMD’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.

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 SCAQMD 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 no exceedances of the SCAQMD Rule 1420.1 24-hour ambient arsenic limit of 10 ng/m3. 

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

Source Test Results

SCAQMD staff has conducted a series of source tests measuring the emissions of lead, arsenic, and other metals from Exide’s stacks. The reports from these tests are provided below. While the results show arsenic emissions levels lower than those used for the 2013 Health Risk Assessment, SCAQMD has no confidence that the emission levels presented in these reports can be maintained consistently during ongoing operations at Exide. This is due to the variable nature of the furnace operations and the insufficient capacity of the air pollution control equipment to maintain negative pressure in the Blast Furnace. Records have shown higher positive pressure spikes and more frequent average positive pressures during non-test periods, which most likely resulted in higher emissions than the measured emissions during these tests. Furthermore, the lead emissions measured from the hard lead baghouse exceeded SCAQMD Rule 1420.1 single-stack emission limits, and a Notice of Violation was issued on October 18, 2013. 

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