Mon Valley Works facilities in the United States of Steel have violated local and federal air quality regulations and must be compliant again, according to an order issued Thursday by the County Health Department. Allegheny.
The order requires that the facilities – including Clairton Coke Works in Clairton, Braddock's Edgar Thomson mill and West Mifflin's Irvin mill – be able to choose between reducing the volume of coal in each coke oven, coking time or setting up Hot Idle batteries ", depending on the order.
The United States of Steel may also propose its own emissions reduction plan.
"For the plant to be back in line and to protect the health of the public, it was essential to prepare and issue this evidence-based order," said Jim Kelly, assistant director of environmental health. at the Allegheny County Health Department, in a statement. declaration.
This order stems from a series of sulfur dioxide emission spikes since the December 24 fire at Clairton Coke Works, which limited the facility's ability to clean the coke oven gas.
The most recent increase on 4 February, measured by the North Braddock Department of Health's air quality controller, marked the seventh time that the Department of Health's air quality monitors detected sulfur dioxide levels above federal hourly emission standards.
Since then, the health department has determined that the exceedance was directly related to a lack of desulphurization at Clairton Coke Works, Kelly said in a statement. The data also shows that the amount of sulfur dioxide emitted daily by these three facilities exceeds federal and local air quality standards.
US Steel is in the process of revising the order, according to a statement provided by spokesperson Meghan Cox.
"This case is a top priority for any company since it has occurred and we continue to work relentlessly with the maximum resources to solve the problem as quickly as possible," says the communicated. "Before the fire, we made significant improvements in environmental performance. Although the fire is a regrettable setback, we are committed to continuing this progress. "
Environmental groups who demanded increased surveillance of US steel facilities since the December 24 fire were happy to see the health department issue an executive order.
"We all have the same goals: to ensure that pollution controls are restored, to minimize harmful emissions and to promote healthy air in the community," said Christopher Ahlers, a lawyer with the Clean Air Council, in a statement. "We want to ensure a complete, timely and fair resolution of this public health problem."
The Clean Air Council, along with the PennEnvironment Group, announced earlier this month that they plan to sue US Steel for alleged violations of the Clean Air Act. In a joint statement on Thursday, the two organizations announced their intention to take legal action after the mandatory 60-day notice period, which was put in place on 13 February.
"We hope to cooperate with the health department to maintain the vital limits of air pollution and to deter any company from leaving such a situation: to operate a plant without an operational pollution control system, start again," Ashleigh Deemer, PennEnvironment Western Pennsylvania director, said in the statement.
Jamie Martines is an editor of Tribune-Review. You can contact Jamie at 724-850-2867, [email protected] or via Twitter .