Plans for Exide demolition released during fiery public meeting




Posted on December 12, 2012 at 11:35 PM

FRISCO -- Before Exide Plant Manager Dave McKercher could even introduce himself Wednesday night, he was being peppered with questions from a small, but vocal crowd.

A couple dozen people came to a meeting to hear him outline the demolition plans for the plant where Exide had been recycling batteries since 1964. Environmental concerns and violations led Exide to cease operations November 30.

McKercher said he would gladly answer questions from the audience after his presentation, face to face, one on one.

He did not want to have a public discussion. But that's what the public wanted.

"What does it matter if we stay in our seats or go up there to meet you?" shouted Jim Schermbeck of the environmental group Downwinders At Risk. "So you welcome our questions until they get too tough, then you don't welcome them anymore?"

It seemed like a fitting end to Exide's turbulent existence. The company revealed at the meeting that demolition will begin December 31. The well-known stacks many identified with the plant will come down close to January 15. The demolition process should be complete around March 1st. And remediation is estimated to be complete by May 1. McKercher warned those dates could easily fluctuate.

Because hazardous materials have been and remain on the site, McKercher said the dismantling process will be meticulous. He said a team will be dedicated to monitoring dust output.

"That's a big concern to Exide and the community -- to make sure when those buildings come down we're not creating a dust cloud," he said.

After the shouting ended, some residents did engage McKercher in one-on-one questions. Many asked about the landfill on site. McKercher said he couldn't give them a clear answer.

"So there's no discussion about trucking that off site, not having a landfill in the middle of Frisco?" asked Colette McCadden.

"I don't know the long term answer to that," McKercher replied.

Resident Bea Warner told him Exide really messed up by not coming to the meeting prepared to answer questions about the landfill.

Karen Baker told McKercher she didn't trust the timeline he laid out about dismantling the property.

"Is this something that's going to happen for 30 years? Will my daughter have a baby and I'll be a grandma by then?" she asked.

McKercher urged people to submit questions on Exide's website.