Piqua battery burn update, Ohio EPA issues report


By Eamon Baird

[email protected]

PIQUA — A report from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Regional Air Pollution Control Agency (RAPCA) issued several violations of the Ohio Revised Code (ORC) to the Energy Safety Response Group (ESRG), the company at the center of community uproar from Piqua city residents due to their lithium battery burn testing at the site of the old Piqua Water Treatment Plant.

On Sept. 22, 2023, the Ohio EPA and RAPCA agreed ESRG is to cease all destructive and non-destructive testing. In the report issued on Sept. 26, the Ohio EPA issued the following statement:

“ESRG installed and operated two air contaminant sources, an enclosed burn room and an outdoor burn area, without submitting a PTIO application and obtaining a PTIO permit that includes evaluating BAT and air toxics emissions. Since May 31, 2023, Ohio EPA and/or RAPCA have received approximately 17 complaints. One of the complaints was from a neighboring business stating, in part, that on July 27, 2023, ESRG performed an activity that resulted in smoke and odors, causing the business to stop operations for the day. Due to the number of complaints and photographs obtained, Ohio EPA and RAPCA have determined that ESRG caused a nuisance,” the report said.

The report went on to say destructive lithium-ion battery testing conducted by ESRG was outside the scope of the open burning permission issued to the city of Piqua.

In 2017, the Piqua Fire Department, in conjunction with ESRG, formerly known as Bensen Fire and Safety Consulting, requested permission for the burning of large lithium batteries.

In the RAPCA report, Piqua Fire Chief Brent Polschneider said the Piqua Fire Department went over the details of the new fire rescue training center that was recently constructed and has yet to be used.

While permission was submitted by the Piqua Fire Department, they were not on the scene during the lithium battery burning.

The Ohio EPA determined the lithium-ion battery testing performed by ESRG was beyond the scope of the permissions the city of Piqua was granted.

On Sept. 23, 2023, ESRG agreed in writing to cease all destructive battery testing activities that result in air contaminant emissions.

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