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Exide must continue to be vigilant, Council says

Exide must continue to be vigilant, Council says

Greater Wellington says it is satisfied with the Environment Court’s conviction of Exide Technologies Ltd and the $5000 fine handed down for a breach of lead-air emission limits but expects the company to improve its processes to fully comply in the future.

The decision comes after the Council prosecuted the company for the discharge, which occurred at its Petone battery recycling plant in February and March this year. Exide pleaded guilty to the charge.

The emissions levels recorded at the facility’s southern boundary exceeded the consented limit of 1.5 micrograms with an average of 2.08 micrograms of lead per cubic metre of air.

Greater Wellington environmental regulation manager Al Cross said that though the decision reflected the one-off nature of the breach, it was clear that the court viewed it as significant and that it would be less tolerant of further breaches.

“The breach that occurred was unfortunate but has been a valuable lesson for the company in requiring it to make further changes to its operations to ensure it complies with the stringent limits of its resource consent.

“We expect that Exide will continue to be highly vigilant to ensure it operates within its consent conditions.”

Mr Cross said that health experts agreed that risks to the community’s health arose from long term rather than short term exposureto lead, but “the reason that specific limits are imposed on Exide is to ensure that no cumulative effects can arise at all.

“Our main concern will always be ensuring that the limits are met so that the health of the community and the environment is being protected at all times.”

Mr Cross said the decision also sent a clear message to businesses that they must work within the terms of their resource consent and the Resource Management Act.


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