Which brings us to the 2006 DTSC public notice regarding the Part B permit? What happened between 2006 and present date?Here is what the DTSC stated in their 2006 Fact Sheet about Exide:
DTSC conducted a detailed review of the Exide Technologies Part B Permit application and has determined that it complies with all applicable regulatory standards and requirements.Okay...no administrative dottin' and crossn' stuff holding it up...
DTSC completed an environmental impact evaluation called a draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR).Okay...
The proposed project was concluded to have a potentially significant adverse air quality impact because PM10 (very fine particulate matter, under 10 microns in size) and off-site NOx emissions (nitrogen oxides, primarily related to trucks) exceeded the South Coast Air Quality Management District’s significance threshold for new sources.So we have some air issues for particulate matter and nitrous oxide...
Note, that the Facility is not a new source and that all other emissions were determined to be less than significant.What that means is that the requirements to deal with the PM and NOx are not as robust as they could be if the facility was a new facility. That's part of the grandfathering issues with the Clean Air Act. However, the DTSC found that all other emissions - which would include lead - were less than significant.
The impacts of the facility on all other environmental resources were also determined to be less than significant.So other than PM10 and NOx, the DTSC had no environmental issue with Exide in 2006. What about human health issues?
The risk assessment evaluated potential cancer and non-cancer health effects that could be caused by the facility’s operations. The assessment took into account a variety of factors, including the types and maximum amounts of waste that would be stored and handled at the facility, and all the possible ways people could be exposed (through breathing the air emissions, coming into contact with the soil surrounding the facility, and similar activities).Okay...
For cancer, the potential effects from the facility are well within health risk limits.Good on the cancer impact...
For non-cancer health risks, the risk assessment evaluated chronic and acute health effects for both the nearby residents and facility workers. The assessment concluded that non-cancer health risks are also well within the state established limits.Good on the non-cancer health impacts.
So what's the problem with issuing Exide their Part B permit in 2006? I can't find anything from that time using Google. What I do find is information on a public meeting two California lawmakers had with the head of the DTSC.
I'll quote from Jessica Garrison's Los Angeles Times October 8th, 2013 article, starting here:
"Are our children worth as much as any other child?"
Agency Director Debbie Raphael somberly told the crowd that she could not explain the failures of the past but that her agency has been vigorously working to bring the facility into compliance during her two-year tenure.
Interrupting Raphael at one point, Mejia picked up a megaphone and screamed: "Stop permitting serial polluters! That's what you can do!"It's the next paragraph that brought me back to Google for a search:
The meeting came the same day that the Department of Toxic Substances Control issued a consultant's report saying that its permitting program is racked by "poor management practices" and that the department does not have a system for revoking or denying permits even when there is a significant threat to human health, according to a consultant's report released by the agency Tuesday.I looked at that report. And what caught my eye was this:
|Page 51 of the report|
In 2006 everything was fine and now in 2013 no permit is the recommendation of their consultants that were hired to:
Using CPS HR Consulting's questions, I set out to find out why they made this recommendation. Here is what the consultants say about Exide in their report to the DTSC:
Exide. This is a battery recycling facility located in Los Angeles area (City of Vernon). Exide is one of the last “interim” permits (a disposal site in existence prior to the 1982 law that established DTSC and grandfathered pre‐existing operators.) It has been controversial both because the South Coast Air Quality district has recently found its air emissions to pose elevated cancer risk in the area, while the Department discovered that the facility was releasing hazardous waste into the soil due to a degraded pipeline. The Department believed Exide was not fully cooperative or responsive.In 2006 everything was in order, so where did this new information come from?
April 24, 2013: DTSC issued the order after receiving reports regarding airborne emissions from Exide’s operations and ongoing subsurface releases from degraded underground pipes.All of this was happening under the backdrop of the fight in Texas over the Exide facility in Frisco. So what new stuff came into existence? Enter Exhibits 1, 2, 3, and 4. Man you gotta really get into the weeds to figure out what is going on.
Exhibit 1- Order of Temporary Suspension: "I conclude that it is necessary to issue this Order for Temporary Suspension pending hearing to prevent or mitigate the substantial danger pursuant to Health and Safety Code Section 25186.2."Substantial danger...go on...
Exhibit 2: On March 5, 2013, Exide submitted a Storm Sewer Inspection Report (Report) which indicates that the underground pipelines used to convey the lead contaminated storm water to a hazardous waste treatment tank system are in poor conditions. Exide proposes to replace and design the underground pipelines to meet with the tank ancillary equipment requirements ...Okay, so that's what the consultant means as "releasing hazardous waste into the soil due to a degraded pipeline." What about the claim that the SCAQMD "recently found its air emissions to pose elevated cancer risk in the area?" Was this for PM10 and NOx?
16.1 In a letter dated March 1,2013, the SCAQMD advised Exide that the HRA submitted by Exide in January, 2013 indicates the Facility poses a maximum individual cancer risk (MICR) of 156 in one million for an offsite worker receptor about 300 meters northeast of the Facility (primarily arsenic).
16.4 Also, according to the SCAQMD, the HRA indicates the Facility poses a maximum individual cancer risk (MICR) of 22 in one million to the nearest residential receptor.Wait...arsenic? Nooooo not arsenic, and cancer? Nooooo. But alas, I must now go back to my ol' faithful nemesis, Arsenic. That's what the DTSC is using to claim that "emissions from the facility operations pose a significant risk to the surrounding community."
Good ol' Arsenic. Good ol' cancer risk...now the fun begins. Is the DTSC correct in the assertion that the Exide is emitting arsenic into the community that increases the risk to "pose a significant risk to the surrounding community?" Here is what they say in Exhibit 2 about that:
DTSC accepts a cumulative risk that does not exceed a one in one million (10-6) for cancer risk. A risk level of 10-6 implies there is a likelihood that up to one person. out of one million equally exposed people, would contract cancer if exposed to the specific concentration continuously (24 hours per day) over 70 years (an assumed lifetime). This would be in addition to those cancer cases that would annually occur in an unexposed population of one million people.Okay, so the pipes be leakin' and Exide is going to fix them. The arsenic presents another hurdle to overcome. What I want to know is how they calculated that 22 in one million to the nearest receptor risk.
Inquiring minds gotta know.
If they only had a RCRA permit...Part 5