State auditor criticizes California agency for Exide cleanup delays, says costs could approach $650 million

Local news
Workers remove topsoil from homes in Boyle Heights in 2015 as part of a state-led cleanup of lead contamination from thousands of properties surrounding the closed Exide Technologies battery recycling plant in Vernon.(Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times)

Workers remove topsoil from homes in Boyle Heights in 2015 as part of a state-led cleanup of lead contamination from thousands of properties surrounding the closed Exide Technologies battery recycling plant in Vernon.(Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times)

The cleanup of thousands of lead-contaminated homes, child-care centers, schools and parks surrounding the closed Exide battery recycling facility in Vernon is running behind schedule and over budget due to poor management by California regulators and has left children at continued risk of poisoning, according to a state audit released Tuesday.

The report by State Auditor Elaine Howle’s office criticized the California Department of Toxic Substances Control for delays, cost overruns, contracting problems and other shortcomings in its effort to remove lead contamination from properties across half a dozen communities in southeast L.A. County. The audit estimated the cleanup is likely to cost hundreds of millions of dollars more than the state has set aside.

Among the most troubling findings, according to the auditor’s office, was Toxic Substances Control’s failure to remove lead-tainted soil from most of the 50 properties, including child-care centers, schools and parks, that it identified in the early stages of the cleanup as posing a particularly high risk to children.

“Despite the risk these properties present, DTSC has yet to clean 31 of them,” the audit said. “In fact, it has cleaned only one of these properties since May 2018.”

Read the full story at LATimes.com.

Most Popular

Latest News

More News