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March 31, 2017

Redevelopment of Carrie Furnaces; Asbestos Still Hidden

Located between Rankin and Swissvale, the Carrie Furnace was a blast furnace built in 1881 that during its peak produced 1,000 to 1,250 tons of iron per day. Forty years after their two remaining blast furnaces operated, the site is getting ready to be redeveloped – a plan than has been in the works for nearly a decade.

Carrie Furnace

Today, all that is left of the site are blast furnaces No. 6 and No. 7 and subsequent engine house, storage building, bridge, and bins in the stock yard. The remnants of the Carrie Furnace site is considered to be a historical landmark and from late spring to mid-autumn, the Steel Industry Heritage Corporation conducts tours.

The Redevelopment Authority of Allegheny County is looking into development proposals for an area of land 60 acres east of the two remaining blast furnaces. A development plan is not set in stone yet, as developers are expected to determine the type of market. The Redevelopment Authority of Allegheny County obtained the property in 2005 and is now looking to reintegrate the Rankin Hot Metal Bridge to better connect those areas such as Swissvale and Rankin, with the Waterfront.

There have been some past environmental concerns regarding the site. Gasoline was stored underground in storage tanks until 1994 and a later environmental assessment discovered the ground was contaminated with sulfates and PCBs. Asbestos has been removed from the buildings, but the county has obtained $313,000 to perform structural inspections and determine any remaining asbestos levels.

Blast furnaces are tall metal chambers that convert iron oxides into liquid iron, which is known as “hot metal.” Iron ore, coke, and limestone are dumped into the top of this steel-lined chamber while heated air is blown or “blasted” through the bottom. The initial materials from the top slowly trickle down the furnace becoming liquid slag and liquid iron. These liquids are drained and the process repeats. Blast furnaces are typically lined with asbestos.

Carrie Furnaces was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 2006 and it continues to be a popular site for weddings, large gatherings and events, tours and most recently, the Thrival festival which was a weekend long music festival that attracted over 15,000 people in September 2016.

There are endless opportunities for development and the future of the Carrie Furnaces site looks bright; however, it’s important to remember the past and the many workers who were affected by hazardous asbestos exposure. Thousands of Pennsylvania workers who worked with asbestos have been affected by an asbestos –related condition. Documentation detailing asbestos exposure can require thousands of documents and dozens of depositions. Carrie Furnace is one of tens of thousands of job sites in our database.

Whether you lived in Pennsylvania for years or just during one summer years ago, we have the knowledge and resources TO track down the companies, products, & places where your asbestos exposure occurred. If you are looking for an asbestos lawyer in Pennsylvania, please contact us today to see how we can help you.

 

Source:

Sandra Tolliver, “The Carries Furnaces Site is Ready for Development. What Will it Become?” Next Pittsburgh (March 27, 2017). [Link]

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