(June 29, 2017) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced Collin County, Texas, has reduced lead contamination and now attains federal Clean Air Act standards. The area had previously been in violation of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for lead due to contamination from the former Exide lead smelting facility in Frisco, Texas. Collin County air monitors have registered three years of data indicating no exceedances of the standard.
“Millions of people live in non-attainment areas for air quality,” said Administrator Scott Pruitt. “We are pleased to see this thriving and fast growing part of Texas accomplish monumental task.”
“We are grateful for the work of all our partners in reducing lead pollution and improving air quality for Collin County residents,” said Acting Regional Administrator Sam Coleman. “This progress in attaining the standard is a great achievement.”
“We are pleased with the improvement in air quality, and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality will continue to monitor during on-going remediation activities to make sure compliance with federal standards continues,” says TCEQ Chairman Bryan W. Shaw, Ph.D., P.E.
This action will also approve changes to the state of Texas’ clean-air plan to ensure Collin County will continue meeting the lead standard. In November 2016 Texas submitted a request for EPA to redesignate the Collin County area as attainment and approve a revision to the clean-air plan containing a maintenance plan for the area. EPA’s decision brings the entire state of Texas into compliance with the lead standard.
In 2012, Exide ceased operations as a lead smelter and the entire production area of the facility was dismantled. There are no longer smelting operations at the site and no longer any point source emissions.
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is working with the Exide company and the city of Frisco to develop a workplan to remove lead contamination from the site.
Lead is a metal found naturally in the environment as well as in manufactured products. The major sources of lead emissions have historically been from fuels used in on-road motor vehicles (such as cars and trucks) and industrial sources. As a result of EPA’s regulatory efforts to remove lead from on-road motor vehicle gasoline, emissions of lead from the transportation sector dramatically declined by 95 percent between 1980 and 1999, and levels of lead in the air decreased by 94 percent between 1980 and 1999.
A copy of the Frisco redesignation direct final rule for the lead air quality standard is available here.
Learn more about lead designations: https://www.epa.gov/lead-designations.
Learn more about EPA’s work in Texas: https://www.epa.gov/tx.