The ESB, Inc., Site (Site), located at 1246 Allene Street in Atlanta, Fulton County, Georgia, is a defunct manufacturing facility which produced lead-acid automobile batteries from 1948 to 1988. Facility operations included casting lead alloys, producing oxides of lead, mixing lead pastes, and forming positive and negative battery plates. Manufacturing operations ceased in 1988. The Site, situated on 12 acres of land in a mixed-use zoning area in southwest Atlanta, Georgia is bordered by a railroad spur on the north, and residential properties on the west, southeast and south. The nearest residential property is located approximately 500 feet to the west of the facility. A child care center is located directly across the street from the facility to the west. It was alleged that during the manufacturing process, lead particles were released to the atmosphere via emissions from elevated roof stacks at the facility and impacted some of the surrounding properties.
In accordance with the AOC, EPA conducted a fund-lead, time-critical removal action at residential and commercial properties located in the immediate outside perimeter of the ESB facility. This cleanup action included the remediation of lead and arsenic from 48 residential yards and a ditch located downgradient and due north of the facility. Prior to remediation, lead contaminated soils in the yards and ditch revealed elevated lead of 500 mg/kg and 44,000 mg/kg, respectively.
An EPA Fund-lead, Time-Critical Removal Action was implemented at the Site to mitigate lead-contaminated soils identified at residential and commercial properties located in the immediate vicinity of the ESB facility. Lead contamination identified at the properties remediated during this action are suspected to have been directly impacted as a result of historical operations at the ESB facility.
As part of the Administrative Order on Consent for Removal Action (Order) for the ESB, Inc., Site and through a request of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Environmental Protection Division (EPD), Exide Technologies employed the services of AMEC E&I (AMEC) to perform quarterly groundwater sampling at the Site. As of September 2010, OSC Carter Williamson has overseen the activities associated with the ESB Site.
On June 10, 2013, Exide filed for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the Federal bankruptcy code and notified EPA and EPD that it was ceasing work at the ESB, Inc., Site until a determination was made in the 2013 bankruptcy process as to any future work under the Order. Up to that point, several conference calls and meetings had taken place between EPA, EPD, Exide and AMEC to help progress the clean-up and remediation of the Site. At the time of the bankruptcy filing, Exide had drafted a letter outlining a potential path forward that was discussed during a meeting on March 21, 2013. Exide forwarded a letter and a proposed remediation plan to EPA and EPD on January 21, 2014 titled "Path Forward for Remediation" which addressed several remediation options focusing on soil excavation at various locations and depths on the former ESB Site. This document was forwarded to the Technical Services Section for review and consideration. After reviewing the proposal, the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GAEPD) forwarded their recommendations to EPA for comment and final decision. EPD sent forward a letter to Exide outlining an acceptable removal action scenario that would meet both EPD"s and EPA's requirements for the site. Since that letter was sent, EPA, GAEPD, Atlanta Code Enforcement, Councilwomen Shepard (District 12) and others participated in a community meeting at Perkerson Park on April 18th to address and update the residents on the progress at the Site. The Atlanta Newspaper Creative Loafing also printed a story of the community meeting and the site. On October 3, 2014, EPA, EPD and Exide met to discuss the bankruptcy proceedings and the future of the clean-up at the former ESB site. According to Exide, they had previously believed that they would emerge from bankruptcy proceedings towards the end of December, however that date has been extended to March 31st. Exide plans to clarify their commitment to the former ESB site to EPA and EPD before the March 31st deadline. Other issues discussed included off-site delineation of groundwater impacts, complying with a commercial, industrial and residential standard, and addressing a site-wide mean average. Discussions continued about protective covenants, direct contact threats, leaching potential, off-site monitoring and access issues associated with the railroads.
On January 27, 2015, Amec Foster Wheeler Environment & Infrastructure, Inc., submitted a written response on behalf of Exide Technologies (Exide) to EPA and EPD concerning the proposed path forward for site remediation. As part of their written submission, they addressed the Georgia regulatory framework, the proposed area averaging for lead in surface soil, the acceptable site-specific options for lead in soil under the Rules for Hazardous Site Response, other hazardous substances, soil and groundwater delineation, site buildings, data quality and presentation, and their conclusions. EPD is reviewing Amec's proposal and EPA has forwarded the document to the Technical Services Section (TSS) for review and comment as well. TSS is presently reviewing the submission and will provide written comment back to OSC Williamson and GAEPD. It was hoped that that Exide would emerge from bankruptcy by the end of March 2015 and be in a financial position to conduct the final clean-up of the former ESB site. At present, EPA and EPD personnel are trying to correspond with Exide representatives to determine the future clean-up and actions on the site. EPA has submitted comments on Exides previous plan to EPD risk assessment staff and is aawaiting their comments.
After Exide emerges from bankruptcy on or after March 31, 2015, they indicated that they would notify EPA and GAEPD of what their intentions will be for the former ESB site and how what resources they will commit to finalizing the clean-up at the site. At that point, EPA and EPD will then determine how to proceed based on Exide's plan that was submitted on January 27, 2015 and any modifications that EPA and EPD request in their path forward..
EPA and GA EPD, along with Atlanta Code Enforcement will continue to coordinate with Councilmember Joyce Sheperd, District 12 and her office to discuss their findings and to plan the path forward for the site. EPA and EPD will remain in contact with Exide on their remediation proposal and the Exide bankruptcy proceedings. At present, both EPA and EPD are awaiting Exides emergance from bankruptcy proceedings.
Remediation of the lead contaminated soils present on-site
Final dissolution of the actual structure (either demolition, selling it to a commercial development or transferrance to the community for use)