Saturday’s Frisco Citizen Clean-Up Snags Highly Toxic Exide Waste

Results from on-site testing at Saturdays’ Community Lead Clean-Up in Frisco shows volunteers collected battery chips from the city’s Grand Park that had up to 5000 ppm of lead on them, making them “extremely hazardous” by government standards.

Saturday’s event marked the first time citizens have done their own testing of the battery chips and slag waste that’s been flowing off of the Exide lead smelter site into Stewart Creek for years. The smelter site sits just upstream of the creek’s mile-long passage through the city’s 300-acre Grand Park.     

Using a portable RXF analyzer at the Clean-Up’s Saturday headquarters on Frisco Square, Dallas-area technician Dean Lovvorn confirmed that at least two of the dozens of chips brought in by volunteers contained 3000-5000 parts per million of lead. The clean-up standard for lead in soil is 250 ppm.

Volunteers reported that there were battery chips on every gravel bar they passed on their half-mile trek up Stewart Creek from the southern boundary of Grand Park bordering Stonebrook Parkway, and they often found chips planted in the creek bed itself. Ironically, city plans call for this particular area of the creek to become the  "natural creek corridor" when the park is fully developed.

Although their effort lasted less than a day, Frisco Unleaded volunteers have already removed more contamination from Stewart Creek and Grand Park than the city, state or federal government had in two years of investigation. The waste is being isolated from the environment in the sample bags it was collected in and will be turned over to the authorities when an off-site disposal option is established.

Frisco Unleaded members are asking the city to request enough money from Exide’s bankruptcy court to completely clean-up the smelter site and all of Stewart Creek. In contrast, the city is only putting in a claim for enough money to pay for burying the waste on-site in Frisco, and doesn’t even attempt to pay for the clean-up of the Creek.

Let's be clear. This is a city park with a contaminated creek flowing right down the middle of it. There’s no fencing. There are no warning signs about the presence of toxic levels of lead in and near the creek. There’s nobody but citizens actually removing contamination from the creek. And yet Frisco City hall will not ask that Exide pay to clean up its waste. Truly mystifying.

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