State shuts down SoCal hazardous battery recycler

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — State environmental officials have ordered a Southern California battery recycling company to suspend operations after they say it discharged hazardous metal sludge into leaking pipelines.

Officials with the Department of Toxic Substances Control said Wednesday that Exide Technologies in Vernon poses “unacceptable health risks to the community.”

The shutdown marks the first time since 1997 that a major hazardous waste recycler has had its permit to operate suspended.

It comes on the heels of findings by the South Coast Air Quality Management District in March that the company has high levels of arsenic in its emissions. According to the district, those emissions have put 110,000 residents at risk.

A spokeswoman for the company did not immediately return calls for comment. Exide recycles 22 million batteries a year.

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