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DER ORDERS EXIDE CORPORATION TO ASSESS LEAD CONTAMINATION AT BERKS COUNTY FACILITY

 HARRISBURG, Pa., Jan. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- The state Department of Environmental Resources (DER) has ordered Exide Corporation to determine the extent of lead contamination in soil and water around the company's battery manufacturing facilities in Muhlenburg Township and Laureldale Borough, Berks County.
 DER Regional Director Hugh Archer said a preliminary investigation by DER and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) revealed high levels of lead in the ground near the Exide facility. He said the results of soil tests taken by the company and submitted to DER also indicated elevated lead levels in the ground.
 "Because current lead levels present a serious health threat, it is imperative that we determine the full extent of contamination so that corrective action can be taken as soon as possible," Archer said. "Until we are able to assess the magnitude of the contamination, it is advisable for people who have private wells in the immediate vicinity to drink bottled water and also to avoid direct contact with the soil around the facility."
 Archer said the area is served by a public water system that supplies safe drinking water.
 Under the order, Exide has 20 days to sample every public and private water supply located within 2,500 feet of the perimeter of the battery facility and submit a plan to address any contamination that is discovered.
 In addition, Exide must, within 30 days, submit a plan to assess the extent of lead and other heavy metal contamination of soil near the company facility. The plan must be carried out and cleanup completed by May 1993. Exide also has 30 days to submit a plan to determine the amount of contamination of sediment in each surface water body on or within 2,500 feet of the facilities.
 Archer said prolonged exposure to lead can cause lead poisoning, the symptoms of which are decreased physical fitness, fatigue, headaches, aching bones and muscles, frequent vomiting and loss of appetite. Children, especially those who are preschool age, are at particular risk to lead exposure.
 /delval/
 -0- 1/15/93
 /CONTACT: Alisa E. Harris of the DER, 717-657-4585/


CO: Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources ST: Pennsylvania IN: SU:

MJ -- PH031 -- 5512 01/15/93 16:26 EST
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Date:Jan 15, 1993
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