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Exide must do better

News release from Greater Wellington Regional Council
6 June 2008

Exide must do better

Greater Wellington has welcomed the District Court's conviction today of Exide Technologies Ltd for a second breach of their resource consent and expects the company to improve its housekeeping processes to fully comply with its consent conditions in the future.

Exide has been fined $30,000 for the breach. The decision comes after Greater Wellington prosecuted the company for breaching its lead to air discharge limits for the first time in March last year.

The second breach was an elevated reading of 4.2 micrograms/m3 on the southern boundary (Waione Street) of Exide's Petone battery recycling plant during the week ending 25 November last year, which pushed the average for the period from September to November to 1.67 micrograms/m3.

Exide's resource consent requires that lead-to-air emissions from the plant should, on average over a three month period, not exceed 1.5 micrograms/m3 on the southern boundary.

The elevated reading was connected to transfer of drums containing dust from the baghouse to the factory.

In sentencing Exide, the Court noted the considerable level of non compliance. Judge Thompson viewed that practices at the plant were not thought through well enough in advance, and expected that risks must be managed better to ensure the community's health is not endangered.

Greater Wellington environmental regulation manager Al Cross said the second breach of Exide's consent conditions was very disappointing.

"We expect a high level of vigilance from Exide on housekeeping matters and clearly it has fallen short on this occasion.

"The brief period of elevated lead levels suggests there are unlikely to be any direct long-term health effects, but the ramifications of Exide not getting it right are potentially dramatic over the longer term.

"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 to ensure that the limits are met so that the health of the community and the environment is being protected at all times."

ENDS

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