Baton Rouge environmental activists concerned about battery plant closure

Baton Rouge environmental activists concerned about battery plant closure
Photo provided by staff.

POSTED: Monday, August 5, 2013 - 5:00pm

UPDATED: Monday, August 5, 2013 - 6:59pm

The Baton Rouge Battery Recycling Plant is in the process of shutting down, and local environmental activists said they're concerned. They want to make sure all the plant's leftovers are cleaned up, and will not become a risk for the community.

Mary-Lee Orr has spent 25-years of her life trying to protect the environment and the people in Louisiana. Orr said when she found out the Baton Rouge Battery Recycling Plant was closing, she wanted to make sure it was done safely.

"There's lots of good neighbors, we don't want someone coming in here, they have a lot of problems and they don't do a proper closure. We're certainly concerned about people, people, people," Orr said. "There's heavy metals, lead, things that are detrimental to human health and the environment. We're really concerned about Bayou Baton Rouge."

Orr said Exide Technologies has a history of waste problems after closing plants in other parts of the country, and she does not want that to happen here.

"That can be really harmful to the humans and the ecosystem. So we want to make sure that if they're going to close down, one that that have the money," Orr said. "We were really concerned that they didn't have the resources, and two, that they do it properly.

Tom Harris of the Department of Environmental Quality said not to worry. Harris said DEQ will make sure hazardous waste will be disposed of according to the rules to ensure the safety of the environment and the people of north Baton Rouge.

"Our concern is several fold really. We want to make sure that long-term monitoring of the landfill continue for 30 years, as required, but to make sure that the process areas are de-contaminated fully and any area that requires remediation are fully cleaned up," Harris said.

"We're pleased that they're moving, we hope, to a proper closure, but we'll be watching," Orr said.

DEQ said it will take up to 12 weeks for the plant to go through the closure process. The plant will be torn down and all hazardous material will be removed.  

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