The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that U.S. Battery Manufacturing Company has agreed to pay $167,300 to resolve federal Clean Air Act violations. U.S. Battery, located in Corona, Calif., failed to comply with federal emissions monitoring and reporting requirements, including performance testing requirements for its lead emission control devices. In addition to paying the penalty, the company will install secondary high efficiency air filters to capture additional lead particles.
“By failing to monitor and test its pollution controls, the company increased the health risks for employees and the nearby community,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. "EPA will remain vigilant in enforcing the Clean Air Act."
EPA discovered the violations after the company failed to provide a thorough response to an information request sent by the agency in February 2010. After further review, federal investigators found that U.S. Battery failed to perform semi-annual inspection and maintenance to ensure proper performance of its equipment, failed to submit performance reports and failed to conduct performance testing of its air pollution control devices.
In addition to the fine, U.S. Battery has agreed to improve its work practices by voluntarily installing High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters to further reduce lead emissions. These HEPA filters will serve as secondary filters that will be used to capture remaining lead emissions that pass through the existing air pollution control equipment. HEPA filters can capture more than 99.9% of particles.
The facility has been operating as a lead acid battery manufacturing plant in Corona since 1991 and is located within a mile of several schools and a residential neighborhood.
Lead is a major environmental health hazard for young children and pregnant women. Exposure to lead can result in lowered intelligence, reading and learning disabilities, impaired hearing, reduced attention span, and hyperactivity.