FRISCO (CBSDFW.COM) - It may be quiet now at Frisco's Exide Technologies battery recycling plant but, Friday night, the silence will give way to celebration.
Nearby homeowners like Shiby Mathew will gather to say goodbye to a facility they've fought against for years. "It's just a toast and celebration that they're finally closing."
At 11:00 a.m. on Friday morning, the company will cease operations. The controversial plant is one of 16 locations in the United States that does not meet federal air quality standards for lead, a known danger for children.
Mathew told CBS 11 News, "We do have a lot of schools, a lot of children. Frisco is growing, and it helps to know that kids are safe. They can go out and play without worrying about smoke and what's coming through the air."
CBS 11 News was the first to report Exide's decision to close. In exchange, the city is paying $45 million to buy the land surrounding the plant.
Of the 130 Exide employees, only four are relocating to other facilities. Another 50 employees attended a job fair earlier this month organized by the Frisco Economic Development Corporation and the Texas Workforce Commission. And 27 workers will stay on-site to demolish and decontaminate the plant.
State and federal inspectors found various environmental violations on the property, so Exide and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality are working on a clean-up plan. The EPA will approve the plan, which will likely include timetables.
Mack Borchardt with the City of Frisco said that it could be several months before the smokestacks are taken down. "We absolutely want to monitor that process, and we want to be able to report back to our citizens that it's been done successfully," he said.
For residents like Mathew, the final chapter in this long story will not be written until the land stands empty. "We want this done faster and sooner rather than later."
Exide declined to have any of its employees interviewed for our story.
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