(January 2, 2019) The City of Frisco and Exide Technologies have a revised plan for cleaning up the battery recycling company’s closed operating plant site and protecting Stewart Creek from future contamination.
On Wednesday, the Frisco City Council approved an amendment to the 2012 Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) which effectively ends pending litigation over the MSA and adds new details about ‘how’ to clean up Stewart Creek and the former operating plant (FOP), located on approximately 93 acres near downtown Frisco, east of Dallas Parkway and north of Stonebrook Parkway. Once the former plant area is cleaned up, in accordance with state and federal regulations, the City of Frisco hopes to lease the former industrial site and turn it into a community amenity.
“Because this property is located near the heart of our community, not far from the Rail District, Frisco Square and future Grand Park, it has tremendous potential,” said Mayor Jeff Cheney. “This is another opportunity to preserve a large parcel of undeveloped land that may help link other community assets.”
The 93-acre, former operating plant site is commonly referred to as the ‘Bowtie Parcel’ due to its shape. The ‘Bowtie Parcel’ is surrounded by approximately 170 acres of undeveloped ‘buffer’ property often referred to as the ‘J Parcel’. The ‘J Parcel’ (also named for its shape) will be purchased by Frisco’s Economic and Community Development Corporations from Exide for $45 million under the 2012 MSA. The $45 million has remained in escrow since 2012 because releasing funds was contingent on satisfactory cleanup of the 170 acres/’J Parcel’.
Under the 2019 amended MSA, escrow funds will be released to Exide when a ‘Certificate of Completeness’ is issued by Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) for ‘J Parcel’ cleanup.
However, before Exide can begin cleaning up Stewart Creek and the ‘Bowtie’, Exide will also be required to post a $25 million ‘Surety Bond’ naming TCEQ as beneficiary. The current estimate for cleanup is $25 million.
“We’re satisfied $25 million will provide sufficient funds for TCEQ to clean up the (Bowtie) property in the event Exide is not able to complete the project,” said George Purefoy, City Manager.
Within 60 days from execution of the 2019 amended MSA, the City of Frisco and Exide must agree on a modified Response Action Plan (RAP) – or cleanup plan. The RAP will include a ‘slurry wall’ along Stewart Creek adjacent to the former Exide plant to prevent groundwater contamination downstream. On the surface, Exide has agreed to a uniform cap system and will increase the soil cap over the ‘Bowtie’ from two feet to three feet. The City of Frisco will pay for costs associated with increasing the ‘soil cap’, currently estimated at about $600,000. Exide will present the modified RAP to TCEQ by June 1, 2019 for approval.
Within five business days of submission to the state, Frisco will issue Exide another pretreatment wastewater discharge permit that allows surface water runoff from the site to be processed by Frisco’s wastewater system; the plant’s previous permit had expired. Additionally, Frisco will pay its proportionate share of the remediation of the J Parcel. In return, Exide will dismiss its lawsuit against the City of Frisco.
Stewart Creek cleanup involves getting rid of any stray battery chips, which could require dredging and removing all contaminated sediment. City of Frisco consultants estimate cleanup of Stewart Creek could take 12 – 18 months. Consultants estimate cleanup of the ‘Bowtie’ (or former operating plant) could take another 18 – 24 months.
“It presents a rare opportunity for Frisco, at this point in its development, to have such a large parcel of undeveloped land in the center of town for future projects,” said Ron Patterson, president, FEDC.
“It’s good news that the disputes concerning the cleanup have been resolved and we will be able to begin planning the best use of the property,” said Wren Ovard, chair, FCDC.
The FEDC and FCDC will consider the amended agreement at regularly scheduled meetings in January.