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Battery Recycling Company Settles Toxic Waste Lawsuit

December 06, 1987|HUGO MARTIN | Times Staff Writer

INDUSTRY — Officials at a battery recycling plant have agreed to close part of a hazardous waste storage facility and pay a $60,000 penalty to settle a suit filed by the Environmental Protection Agency, EPA officials announced this week.

The suit filed by the U. S. attorney's office last year charged Quemetco Inc., a subsidiary of RSR Corp., with releasing hazardous wastes into the ground and water and failing to comply with a 1985 deadline to clean up the site.

Quemetco reached an agreement with the EPA to close a portion of the facility where an asphalt-lined pond was used to store hazardous liquid waste, a violation of the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, said Terry Wilson, an EPA spokesman.

Quemetco also agreed to take soil samples and install ground water monitoring wells throughout the site to determine whether hazardous waste has contaminated the area. If contamination is present at levels that may affect humans or the environment, the company will pay for the necessary cleanup operation, Wilson said.

At the plant, acidic liquids are drained from car batteries so the lead can be melted and recycled for other uses.

A spokesman for Quemetco said that under the agreement the company "does not admit any violation of law." He also said no immediate threat to the health or safety of the surrounding community had taken place.

An additional agreement has been reached between Quemetco and the California Department of Health Services calling for corrective measures, if any are needed, to satisfy all state and federal concerns, the spokesman said.

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