State regulators cited Exide Technologies for eight hazardous-waste violations at its Vernon battery recycling plant, which has been a target of criticism by residents and state and local officials for years, state officials announced Wednesday.

Exide officials said the company is already addressing the issues.

According to the state Department of Toxic Substances Control, the most serious violations found during recent inspections of the plant were contaminated sludge tanks that Exide is not authorized to offer at the Vernon facility, and failure to protect against spills in an area where the company stores materials including battery acid.

The violations were detected during inspections carried out over two days last week, and during a plant visit in mid-December as part of Exide’s application for a hazardous waste permit, according to DTSC.

“These violations represent our commitment to the community that we will keep a close watch on Exide and ensure that the facility is in compliance with all pertinent laws,” DTSC Deputy Director Elise Rothschild said. “The company must correct these violations, and we will consider them, along with Exide’s full enforcement history, when we make our permit decision.”

Exide officials said they were working with the state to resolve the issues.

“The company is already taking action pursuant to the notice and will continue to work with the DTSC so that all applicable standards and protocols are met,” said Tom Strang, vice president of environmental health and safety for Exide. “We intend to operate a premier recycling facility.”

The battery recycling plant in Vernon has been shuttered since last March while upgrades are made to the facility to ensure it meets state air- quality standards.

When operational, the plant recycles about 25,000 batteries daily. It is one of only two lead-acid battery recycling plants west of the Rockies.

The plant does not have a hazardous waste facility permit from the state. It had been operating under an interim permit from the state. A decision on whether to issue a full permit is expected by December, according to the DTSC.

City News Service

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