State lawmakers approved the $177 million proposal Governor Brown requested to address the Exide Technologies battery recycling plant clean up in Vernon. It’s meant to speed up the cleanup of lead in Vernon and surrounding East Los Angeles neighborhoods where homes have tested positive for lead contamination and some children have shown elevated levels of lead in their blood.
The state Senate voted on the measure on Monday, following a vote in the Assembly last week.
KPCC reports that the money will be used to test soil at 10,000 homes for lead in a 1.7 mile radius around the former Exide facility and to clean up 2,500 of the most contaminated properties.
It’s still uncertain when that cleanup will begin. It could start in spring 2017 because the state has to follow environmental review laws. That cleanup will have crews digging out 18 inches or more of soil, taking it out, and filling it in with clean soil.
Lead can damage the nervous system and slow growth and development in children, KPCC reports. It has also been connected to learning and behavior problems and hearing and speech impairments.
Exide was ordered to shut down last year after they received repeated citations for violating hazardous waste laws. The state plans to go after Exide for the cost of the cleanup.