FRISCO — Air monitors, water trucks and giant misters are just a few of the tools Exide will use to safely clean up its controversial battery recycling plant in Frisco.
Less than a week ago, Exide shut down operations as part of an agreement with the city. On Wednesday, company officials discussed the step-by-step plan to clean and demolish the contaminated facility without putting neighbors' health in jeopardy.
Exide’s plan is only a proposal. The decontamination and demolition of the Frisco facility must first be approved by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
Frisco Mayor Maher Maso called it a good first step.
Leverne Jones has lived on Ash Street for 54 years. That’s four years longer than Exide has operated its battery recycling operation.
"I haven't opened the windows on the front side of my house in six or seven years," she said.
Jones is concerned about the cleanup. The company says dust control will be one of its top priorities. They're going to use water trucks with sprayers and industrial-sized misters to keep dust down.
When winds are above 20 miles per hour, crews will stop working.
"It's like blowing smoke," Jones said. "If there's smoke, and it's blowing in the air, there's nothing you can do. It's just out there."
Exide unveiled a 94 page plan detailing how the company intends to deal with lead contamination in seven buildings, two storage areas, piping and equipment.
Air monitoring stations will be set up first.
"I can't stress enough that where we're at today is a very positive step for the City of Frisco," Mayor Maso said. "It's the best possible outcome. We're very happy it's moving down the road."
Under Exide's plan, all batteries and raw materials will be removed by the company and recycled. Buildings will be carefully cleaned of lead residue before being torn down.
Once the buildings are demolished, experts will take soil samples. Contaminated soil will be hauled to a landfill.
"I want the most modern, protective cleanup there is," said Meghan Green of the community group Frisco Unleaded. "I want the citizens’ protection, first and foremost."
Lead isn't the only problem. Some of the buildings contain asbestos. Some electrical devices contain mercury. Even florescent light bulbs are considered contaminants.
"If there was anything out there, we've already got it now," said Leverne Jones. "There's no use doing anything, because they can't reverse it."
The Exide site cleanup could take several years to complete. Frisco residents will get a chance to ask the company about the cleanup at a meeting at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, December 12 at the Frisco Heritage Center at 7 p.m.
Frisco's economic and community development corporations will pay Exide $45 million for 180 acres of land around the plant.