Quemetco, Inc.

Background & Facility Information

Quemetco Inc., (Facility ID: 008547) operates a battery recycling and secondary lead smelting facility located at 720 S. 7th Ave, City of Industry, California.  It began operations in the City of Industry in 1959.  The facility recovers lead from used batteries and other lead bearing materials.  It operates various equipment and controls that are subject to the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) rules and regulations and permit requirements.

The process involves three major steps: crushing, smelting, and refining.  The used batteries and other lead bearing materials are first crushed into smaller pieces, and the plastic fragments (from the battery casing) are removed from the small lead bearing pieces.  Second, the lead charge (small pieces) are then dried in a rotary dryer and subsequently fed into a reverberatory furnace.  The high heat in the furnace converts the small lead bearing pieces into molten lead, where the impurities float to the top and are removed as slag.  Finally, various amounts of antimony, arsenic, copper, nickel, and/or tin are added to the molten lead in several refining kettles to ultimately produce metal bars or ingots that meet different customer’s specifications.  The rotary dryer, reverberatory furnace, and refining kettles emissions are fed through air pollution controls, including baghouses, a scrubber, and a wet electrostatic precipitator.  The primary pollutants of concern for this facility are arsenic, lead, benzene, and 1,3-butadiene.

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AB2588 & Rule 1402 Activities

SCAQMD staff notified Quemetco on December 10, 2013 that it must submit an HRA based on a November 2013 SCAQMD source test that showed elevated levels of arsenic emissions.  Quemetco provided an AB2588 HRA on May 9, 2014.  SCAQMD approved the HRA on May 17, 2016 with some revisions.  Cancer risks in the approved HRA exceed SCAQMD thresholds for public notification and risk reduction.  

For Public Notification, Quemetco was required to mail out written notification to all residents and businesses within the public notification area outlined in the HRA Approval Letter by June 16, 2016.  In addition, a public meeting was held to present the results of the HRA and to solicit feedback from the community.  Details regarding this process is described in the Public Notification portion of this page below

For Risk Reduction, Quemetco submitted a Risk Reduction Plan (RRP) by November 16, 2016 and the SCAQMD rejected the proposed Risk Reduction Plan on February 16, 2017 because it did not contain sufficient information to demonstrate its reliability, effectiveness, and contingency. Quemetco submitted an Update to the original RRP on March 21, 2017.  SCAQMD approved the RRP Update with conditions on June 22, 2017.  Ultimately, Quemetco must complete risk reduction as quickly as feasible, but no later than December 21, 2019.

Permit Modification Request

Quemetco has requested a permit modification to allow a 25% increase in daily throughput.  SCAQMD is processing this permit request, and is also preparing an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) as required by the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).  The EIR will evaluate the potential environmental impacts of this proposed permit modification and will also consider the AB2588 risk reduction requirements as a component of the project.  There will be multiple opportunities for the public to provide input into the EIR. The Final EIR will include responses to all comments received and must be certified before the permit modification request can be considered for approval.


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Public Notification Meeting

Health Risk Assessment Documents

Additional Information



Page Modified June 30, 2017

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