Join The Morning News’ Call to “Dig It Up, Haul It Off, Make It Safe” Tonight at Frisco City Hall




October 14th, 2013


We wouldn't blame Frisco officials for offering a hearty "we told you so" after the state's top environmental regulator said bankrupt Exide Technologies needs to do more to clean up contaminants from its shuttered battery recycling plant.


Given the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality's sometimes spotty enforcement reputation, this newspaper is pleased to see TCEQ's aggressive investigation into Exide and the resulting list of citations. In a 10-point notice of enforcement, TCEQ says waste buried in Exide's landfill in Frisco contains dangerous levels of lead dating to 1998. TCEQ also says Exide failed to adequately test for cadmium, a known carcinogen, before waste was hauled off to a regional recycling facility in 2012 and 2013.


Given Dallas' bad experiences with similar remediation and redevelopment challenges in West Dallas and many parts of southern Dallas, we urge Frisco to continue to press Exide for as complete a cleanup as possible. As West Dallas knows all too well, years after a dirty lead smelter closed there, its legacy has hindered development.


Exide says it will work with Frisco and environmental regulators in remediating the plant property, but its bankruptcy filing this spring and disputes over dangerous materials found downstream have complicated the cleanup process.


That's all the more reason Frisco should view this enforcement notice from TCEQ as an affirmation of what city officials have believed to be true about contamination around the plant site. The state agency and the federal Environmental Protection Agency also urged Exide to revise its groundwater assessment plan, which would require a more stringent and expensive cleanup plan.


Exide and Frisco struck a landmark deal more than a year ago to shutter the battery recycler, a major step toward the city reclaiming industrial land for a cleaner environment and recreational purposes. Now Frisco should take the additional step of asking the bankruptcy court judge to require Exide to put aside funds to cover the more extensive cleanup.


A comprehensive approach to reclaiming the land would end questions about contamination and potential risks to Stewart Creek and the proposed Grand Park in Frisco. With Exide in bankruptcy, none of this will be a simple matter. It is, however, the right thing to do for the environment and the community.



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