Reports show California Highway Patrol officers observed spills coming from a truck transporting battery waste from the Exide plant. Photo by Art Torres.

Reports show California Highway Patrol officers observed spills coming from a truck transporting battery waste from the Exide plant. Photo by Art Torres.

Vernon-based battery recycler Exide Technologies is facing new problems today, as recently released reports show hazardous waste spilled from its tractor-trailers onto public roadways and storm drains last year.

A state environmental inspector called the leaks an “on-going problem.” Government records and public documents, first reported by KCBS-TV, Channel 2, show state inspectors and the California Highway Patrol officers observed spills coming from a truck transporting battery waste from the Exide plant.

The leaks of acid and lead could be an important piece of a criminal investigation of Exide by a federal grand jury. The federal investigation is being conducted by the Justice Department in the Central District of California.

The probe is the latest development in the battery recycler’s troubles. The company has been under scrutiny for the emission of high levels of harmful pollutants from its battery recycling facilities.

Last year, the plant was ordered closed by regulators due to contamination. It was later re-opened but forced to close again this year. Community groups and elected officials demanded the closure after a study found arsenic emissions from the plant posed an increased cancer risk to more than 100,000 people across southeast Los Angeles County.

Late last month, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill setting a deadline for Exide to comply with hazardous-waste laws.

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