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Community monitoring of Exide underway

News release

26 February 2008

Community monitoring of Exide underway

Greater Wellington (GW) has commenced independent community-based monitoring to measure the lead concentration in air surrounding the Exide Technologies battery recycling plant in Petone.

Exide currently conducts deposition, or ‘dust fall’ air sampling as a condition of its resource consent. However, Greater Wellington’s monitoring will involve both dust fall and ambient air monitoring at two sites outside the plant’s boundary to assess the reduction in lead emissions from the plant since stringent boundary limits were imposed through the consent review in 2005/2006.

Greater Wellington will undertake the monitoring until the end of May. The Council completed a similar three-month study in 1999 so comparisons will be made and the results reported to the community.

Greater Wellington environmental regulation manager Al Cross says the information gained will be important for assessing any risks to community health when Exide’s consent is up for renewal in 2011.

Mr Cross says the Council is also looking into more complicated monitoring about how far lead and dust particles travel beyond the plant boundary and how fast they settle. “The technical aspects of this are more complex than we originally anticipated so we are currently scoping options for tackling this monitoring before we decide how to carry it out.”

Mr Cross says the community monitoring beyond the Exide site does not replace the plant boundary monitoring that Exide currently undertakes.

”While monitoring beyond the boundary is important, the point of critical monitoring will always be at the boundary itself. This means that fugitive emissions beyond that point can be measured in relation to the boundary limits set under Exide’s resource consent.”


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