Mon Valley Plants Ordered to Submit Plan to Reduce Emissions

Mon Valley Plants Ordered to Submit Plan to Reduce Emissions

Earlier this week, the Allegheny Health Department issued an order requiring the Mon Valley Works to submit a plan outlining actions and specific steps they are going to take to reduce sulfur dioxide emissions that have been polluting the surrounding communities since the December 24 fire at Clairton Works. This order includes Clairton Coke Works, Edgar Thomson Steel, , and Irvin Mill to reduce emissions across all facilities until the repairs at Clairton Coke Works are complete or until July 30, 2019.

The fire on December 24, 2018, at Clairton Coke Works caused extensive damage to the coke gas feed operations, destroying vital equipment and triggering air quality alerts from the Allegheny County Health Department. Surrounding communities have voiced their concerns about the ongoing air pollution that has plagued the area as sulfur dioxide levels five times the legal limit have been shown to  contribute to asthma, bronchitis, emphysema,  and can affect respiratory and cardiovascular disease. Recent air quality evaluations showed that increase in sulfur dioxide emissions is directly because of the damages at the Clairton Coke Works Plant. Mon Valley Works is required to submit a plan within five days and data will need to be provided weekly to show ongoing pollution control efforts are being maintained. Failure to do so will result in all plants being idled. Meanwhile, the following communities are subject to air quality advisories:

 

·         Braddock·         Liberty
·         Clairton·         Lincoln
·         Dravosburg·         McKeesport
·         Duquesne·         North Braddock
·         East McKeesport·         North Versailles
·         East Pittsburgh·         Pleasant Hills
·         Elizabeth Borough·         Port Vue,
·         Elizabeth Township·         Versailles
·         Forward·         Wall
·         Glassport·         West Elizabeth
·         Jefferson Hills·         West Mifflin

 

Repairs to Clairton Coke Works are on track to be 70 percent complete by mid- May and cost $40 million.

The newly issued order from the Allegheny County Health Department comes in addition to the $1 million fine issued this past summer against Clairton Coke Works for violating air quality standards. U.S Steel is currently appealing this fine.

 

Asbestos Exposure in Coke Ovens
The coke oven creates an essential ingredient to creating molten lava in the blast furnace – coke. Coal is placed in the tall and narrow metal box lined with heat resistant brick. Gas fumes burn in the dividing walls, causing the moisture and more volatile chemicals to be baked off, resulting in almost pure carbon substance called coke.

While the city of Pittsburgh may have cleaned up its act and is no longer the “Smoky City” it was once dubbed as, the lingering effects of asbestos exposure in steel workers are still coming to light. The toxic asbestos fibers that were easily inhaled throughout the steel mills stayed dormant in workers for decades, but over the years, the tiny, needle-like fibers became further embedded in the lining of certain organs and tissue resulting in fatal illnesses such as lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis.

If you suspect your illness was caused by asbestos exposure, contact the attorneys at GPW immediately. A free, no obligation consultation will determine if you’re entitled to compensation.  Call 1-800-266-7539 to speak to an attorney, or fill out our evaluation form below and we’ll contact you. Live chat representatives are also available 24/7 to answer any questions you may have.

 

Sources:
Don Hopey, “Health Department Orders US Steel to Stop Pollution at Mon Valley Plants,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (February 28, 2019). [Link]
Daniel Moore , “U.S” Steel Reports Repairs Following Clairton Plant Fire Will Cost $40 Million,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (January 30, 2019). [Link]
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