BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) -- Environmental activists are asking the state to ensure that hazardous wastes left after the closure of a bankrupt battery recycling plant don't cause any harm.
The Exide Technologies Baton Rouge Recycling Center is preparing to shut down. The Louisiana Environmental Action Network has asked the state Department of Environmental Quality to make sure there is enough money to close the facility properly and to confirm that hazardous waste on the site has been properly removed.
The Advocate reported (http://bit.ly/14dpzAc) that operations of the plant at 2400 Brooklawn Drive in north Baton Rouge have been going on since the late 1960s.
Exide bought the facility in 1999 and operated as Exide Corp. Baton Rouge Smelter.
The plant's name later was changed to Exide Technologies Baton Rouge Recycling Center.
Exide recycled lead-bearing materials into lead pig and block ingots, which were sold for use in making batteries, bearings, ammunition and chemicals, according to a closure plan sent to DEQ on June 4.
When the company asked to temporarily stop production in 2009, by law it was required to start closure work within 30 days of receiving the final volume of hazardous waste unless it received an extension.
Extensions allow a company to keep a facility open while waiting for economic conditions to improve.
"Any time a hazardous waste site shuts down because of economic conditions," said Sam Phillips, assistant secretary of DEQ, "we do have the ability to give an extension."
Phillips said although the final closure plan is still being developed by the company, there isn't a concern about having enough money. The state holds $2.4 million in surety bonds from the company.
"That's adequate to handle the issues we're aware of right now," Phillips said.