20 Oct 2023

Fire department lithium battery fire training facility shut down from public pressure


A training facility in the US state of Ohio, where fire departments could train small-scale with burning lithium batteries, has been shut down due to public pollution concerns.

A private contractor has agreed to stop burning lithium-ion batteries at the old Piqua water treatment plant, part of which now serves as the fire department’s training facility, reports FireFighterNation.com.

Neighbours living close to the facility became concerned by smoke and emissions from the facility. State environmental officials found that the burns were exceeding the volume anticipated by its permits, and now the lithium-ion battery burns will cease, Dayton 24/7 reports.

However, residents now want to inquire if the emissions from the burns over five years may have harmed them or polluted the neighbourhood's water, soil, or air, Dayton 24/7 further reports.


No concerns from authorities over air pollution

Although all operations at the training center ceased on September 19, 2023,  at "no point since 2018 has the Ohio EPA or RAPCA reported any concerns regarding our community's air, soil, or water related to the site", the City of Piqua says   in an October 13 statement regarding the situation at the Piqua Public Safety Training Center. 

The statement says that since 2018, the City of Piqua entered into an agreement with Bowling Green State University, State Fire School, to provide beneficial fire safety training for our fire department and other regional fire departments.

"The training was part of a research and development initiative to provide limited, small-scale testing of lithium-ion batteries in a controlled environment under a permit by the Regional Air Pollution Control Agency (RAPCA). The partnership was expected to increase the economic vitality of our city by adding jobs and other community benefits, in addition to valuable training and fire safety research."