At least $3 million from the state could aid the city of Frisco's $29 million cleanup efforts at the former Exide Technologies battery recycling plant.
House Bill 2708, introduced by state Rep. Jared Patterson, R-Frisco, would allow the city to use money from state-levied fees on new and used lead-acid batteries for the cleanup. The bill passed by a majority in both state chambers this legislative session and will go into immediate effect once Gov. Greg Abbott signs it.
"I filed HB 2708 to allow the Frisco Community Development Corporation (CDC) access to a state account for reimbursement for environmental remediation of the Exide site,” Patterson said in an email. “My office also worked to secure a $3 million appropriation from the account. HB 2708 allows Frisco access for a period of six years, so there’s a possibility of even more funds in the future.”
Frisco previously had access to this account, Patterson said, but only for one year at a time. With the new bill, Frisco has access to the account for six years, and Patterson could potentially ask for further funding in future legislative sessions.
To use these funds, the Frisco CDC must obtain an industrial hazardous waste permit from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Furthermore, the CDC is required to pay for part of the costs of the environmental remediation of the site pursuant to the permit.
Frisco Director of Communications Dana Baird said the city had previously received two payments from the state fund under separate legislation. The first payment of $1.5 million was authorized in 2013. The second payment of $1.7 million was authorized in 2015.
To date, the city of Frisco has received a total of $3.2 million.
The battery recycling plant began operating in Frisco in the 1960s. In 2012, the city agreed to purchase 180 undeveloped acres surrounding the plant. In return, Exide was expected to halt operations, remove industrial facilities and begin cleanup. But a pair of bankruptcy filings stymied the company’s cleanup efforts.
On Oct. 6, Frisco City Council members approved a plan to take over remediation and ownership of the site. Weeks later on Oct. 27, Frisco and its CDC announced ownership of the 102 acres where the Exide battery recycling plant operated for decades.
Frisco also announced Oct. 27 the creation of a fund to support future maintenance and operation of the site. The fund will use money collected by raising trash fees $1 per cart per month for residential customers and 2% for commercial customers.
Once cleanup is finished, the former Exide property will connect the Frisco Discovery Center and new library-to-be with the roughly 600-acre Grand Park project. The park, to be located in the center of the city, has been touted as Frisco’s version of Central Park. Development on the park is on hold until the Exide cleanup is completed.