U.S. Steel might soon be paying a fine for several violations of both county and federal environmental protections at its plant in Braddock.
The Allegheny County Health Department teamed up with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to look into pollution at the Edgar Thomson Steel Works plant. The notice of violation, dated Nov. 9, states the first instances of noncompliance were observed in February 2016 and continued until this July.
"Visible emissions from multiple pieces of equipment like the blast furnaces, the basic oxygen processes, just a failure to maintain equipment, control equipment [and] fugitive emissions from vehicles," said Jim Kelly, the deputy director of the department's environmental health bureau. "These violations were continuing, and they weren't getting any better and possibly getting worse."
The plant is also being cited for failure to certify compliance within its operating permit.
Kelly said the health department is looking to improve the effectiveness of its enforcement efforts. In addition to working with the EPA, which can levy heftier fines, the department of has hired additional attorneys to help hold emitters to county and federal standards.
"Right now, the Mon Valley, in which these plants are located in, currently fails those federal standards," he said. "Reducing emissions from these plants is part of our plan to bring this area compliance within federal standards." In an e-mailed statement, U.S. Steel's Manager for External Communications Meghan Cox confirmed the company had received the notice of violation.
"We are currently reviewing it and will work with the ACHD and EPA to resolve any issues," Cox wrote.
The financial penalty amount hasn’t been determined.