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Exide plant demolition begins

Wed, 11/13/2013 - 16:43 -- Ruth Williams
Exide Technologies Baton Rouge Recycling Centre

Exide’s disused lead-acid battery recycling plant in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, US is being demolished. The facility has sat idle since 2009 when Exide sought permission from the local Department of Environmental Quality to pause production, a procedure that should begin the permanent closure of the plant.

Exide had to apply for extensions to remain out of action while economic conditions were unfavourable for operation. Extensions were granted in 2009, 2010 and 2011 but denied in 2012 because the company was unable to prove market conditions would become ripe for restarting the site within 12 months. The demolition begun at the end of October and is expected to be completed by December 1st.

Administrative buildings and the wastewater treatment facility will remain for the next 30 years, during which time monitoring will take place as part of regulatory requirements. Landfills at the site include 5.8 acres and 1.5 acre landfills of solid waste as well as five acres of hazardous waste piles.

The demolition follows the shutdown of its plants in Vernon, California and Friscoe, Texas for environmental reasons. The company’s on-going bankruptcy proceedings will not impact upon its ability to complete the clean up operation because the state of Louisiana holds a surety bond worth US$2.4m from the company which it can call in if Exide is unable to fund the clean up.

A lead processing facility has stood on the site since the 1960s and operated by Exide since 1999 as the Exide Technologies Baton Rouge Recycling Centre. It processed inorganic lead-bearing materials and recycled into lead pig and block ingots for use in new batteries and other lead products.