Watch CBS News

Vernon Recycling Plant Could Reopen With Tougher Pollution Standards

LOS ANGELES ( — Officials with a Vernon battery recycling plant have agreed to implement tough new pollution control standards after elevated lead levels were found in the soil at dozens of nearby homes.

KNX 1070's Pete Demetriou reports some community members remain skeptical despite the deal reached between Exide Corporation and South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD).

Vernon Recycling Plant Could Reopen With Tougher Pollution Standards

Under the agreement set to be revealed in detail at a public administrative law meeting Wednesday night, Exide will have to install upgraded pollution controls to stop emissions of lead and arsenic to allow for a reopening of the facility at 2700 S. Indiana St., according to reports.

The plant - which recycled 23,000 to 41,000 batteries daily - remains shut following a months-long dispute with SCAQMD officials over arsenic emissions and after recent testing found elevated levels of lead in the yards of 39 homes near the plant.

After SCAQMD officials issued over 30 citations against Exide since June 2012, the agreement allows the air district to proceed with a $40 million lawsuit against the company for repeated air pollution violations, The Los Angeles Times reported.

Exide plant manager John Hogarth told county supervisors in March that Exide has spent $20 million on upgrades to reduce pollution and considers the health of residents a "top priority."

But while SCAQMD officials may be satisfied with the agreement, residents like Lisa Gonzales still have concerns.

"I have doubts because you never know what could happen from one minute to another," said Gonzales. "Things could change, you know, but you never know."

Pending approval of the agreement by AQMD board members, Exide could return to operations at its Vernon plant by mid-2015.

The public hearing is scheduled for tonight at 6 p.m. at Maywood Academy High School, 6125 Pine Avenue in Maywood.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.