Frequently Asked Questions

 

Sampling and Results

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Q. When trying to figure the extent of contamination from Exide, why does DTSC start sampling close to the facility and work its way out?
A.

The investigation of any site begins with the facility itself to identify the nature of contamination. Subsequently, the investigation is expanded outward to identify the extent of contamination. Typically, contamination tapers off further away from the source. This is standard practice in any investigation and any site cleanup. 

Q. Why did DTSC analyze soil samples for other metals?
A.

Some metals, such as antimony, arsenic, cadmium, copper, nickel, and zinc are commonly associated with secondary lead-smelting operations. Antimony in particular is characteristic to battery smelting operations since lead-acid batteries contain lead alloy that contains about 5% antimony.


Residential Cleanup

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Q. How long does it take to clean up a property?
A.

Each property has averaged up to five days to clean up; depending on the size of the yard at each property.

Q. What if, once you start cleaning up the most contaminated properties you find some that are even more contaminated? Will the most contaminated properties be cleaned up first?
A.

We will prioritize cleanup based on the most contaminated properties and homes with children or pregnant women.

Q. Is DTSC coordinating its response with the Governor and the federal government?
A.

 Yes, DTSC is asking local, state, and federal agencies to provide expertise and resources. For example, DTSC has consulted with US EPA about a lead cleanup it oversaw that involved several thousand homes in Omaha, Neb. More information on that project is available at: http://www.epa.gov/region07/cleanup/npl_files/nesfn0703481.pdf

Q. Where is the contaminated soil from neighborhoods going when it is removed?
A.

Non-Hazardous soils go to Chiquita canyon, a permitted Class III landfill in Los Angeles County. California Hazardous soils are transported either to La Paz County Regional Landfill, or to South Yuma County Landfill, both of which are in Arizona.

Q. Where is the new soil coming from for yards that are being cleaned up?
A.

Yards are being replaced with clean soil that has been sampled to ensure it is not contaminated. The soil comes from Hanson Heidelberg Cement Groups in Irwindale.


Health Concerns

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Q. What can residents do to protect themselves from lead until their property is cleaned up?
A.

Families can take steps to reduce exposure, including, but not limited to the following:

*Avoid areas of bare soil or cover the areas of bare soil

*Remove shoes before going into the home

*Wash hands after coming in from outside

*Wash fruits and vegetables from the yard before eating them


Q. Do other chemicals from Exide, such as antimony or arsenic, threaten my health?
A.

 Other metals such as antimony, cadmium, and arsenic were found very near the Exide facility. The concentrations of these metals and the presence of elevated lead prompted DTSC to order Exide to immediately clean up the areas nearest the facility. This work has been completed and additional sampling is on-going. The early results of that sampling show that these other metals are well below the California Human Health Screening Levels (or CHHSSLs). In other words, not at levels that pose a threat to public health.

Q. Why is DTSC encouraging residents living close to the Exide facility to have their blood tested for lead?
A.

Blood testing is a good indicator of recent exposure to lead. It also enables experts to identify potential "hot spots" and expedite cleanup efforts to stop any further exposure. Blood testing is currently offered free of charge to residents in a select area surrounding the Exide facility. Contact the Los Angeles County Public Health Department for more information: 844-888-2290.


Paying for Sampling and Cleanup

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Q. How much does it cost to clean up a residential property?
A.

Cleanup of properties in the initial Assessment Areas has cost about $45,000 to $50,000 per property on average. The costs drop as efficiencies are found.
More information on the Assessment Areas cleanup can be found at https://www.dtsc.ca.gov/HazardousWaste/Projects/UpdateExideSuspension.cfm

Q. Initially, DTSC said Exide would have to clean up and pay for all of its contamination. Is that still true?
A.

DTSC will hold Exide responsible for the contamination it has caused. We also will document our findings and identify other possible sources of lead contamination in the communities.

Q. Exide has said its contamination doesn’t reach very far. How can DTSC prove Exide is responsible for the contamination?
A.

Preliminary results of our analysis show that Exide's contamination extends approximately 1.7 miles from the facility. Public health is our priority. Our immediate plan is to initiate cleanups and recover our costs later from all responsible parties, including Exide.

Q. Are other parties responsible for lead contamination in addition to Exide?
A.

DTSC will identify potential sources of lead contamination and use all legal avenues to recover costs from parties that caused lead contamination in the communities.


Closure and Non-Residential Cleanup

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Q. What other cleanups are associated with the Exide site?
A.

DTSC is overseeing sampling at the Exide facility to identify the nature and extent of contamination from their operations. We also are sampling in the industrial neighborhood adjacent or near the facility to determine what cleanup is needed. These are unrelated to the cleanups in the residential areas.

Q. Where will toxic waste from the Exide plant be taken after it is removed?
A.

 Where the waste is taken depends on what kind of waste it is. Specific disposal locations will be included in the final Closure Plan. The public will get to review the draft Closure Plan and make comments before DTSC approves a final plan.


Advisory Group and Technical Advisor

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Q. What is the role of the Exide Advisory Group?
A.

The Advisory Group is made up of people with different viewpoints from regulatory agencies, local governments, academia, advocacy groups, and community representatives from areas around the Exide facility. The Advisory Group gives DTSC and other oversight agencies a way to include the community in the decision making process. It also helps keep the communities informed about sampling data, plans, and work done throughout the closure and cleanup process.

Q. What is the role of the technical advisor?
A.

The technical advisor helps community members interpret data and technical reports, and provides recommendations on cleanup and closure of the Exide facility to the community.