Several dozen residents who live near the now-shuttered Exide battery recycling plant in Vernon sued the state Department of Toxic Substance Control Tuesday for allegedly not taking enough steps to protect them from water and soil contamination.
“Defendants should have known that their failure to use a reasonable degree of care in their implementation, regulation and enforcement of various statutes … did cause and continues to cause the groundwater, surface and subsurface soil and environment surrounding the plant to be contaminated with hazardous and/or toxic substances,” the Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit alleges.
A department representative could not be immediately reached for comment.
The plaintiffs learned in March 2015 that the department allowed the Exide plant to “operate continuously and pollute under a long-expired temporary permit,” the suit alleges.
The department knew or should have known that the company was emitting hazardous materials over several decades “with the tacit or actual cooperation of DTSC,” according to the lawsuit.
As a result, the properties of residents have become so contaminated with hazardous substances and toxins that there has been a substantial drop in their value, the suit alleges.
The suit seeks unspecified damages.
–City News Service
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