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Our Latest Look at Shenango and Air Pollution

We last checked Shenango, Inc.’s compliance with its limitations on the sulfur content of its coke oven gas, the visible emissions from the door areas of its coke ovens, and the visible emissions from its battery combustion stack in a blog post on March 27, 2015.

We just obtained compliance data for the first quarter of 2015 from the Allegheny County Health Department, (ACHD) so it’s time to check again.

Unfortunately, Shenango’s compliance with these limitations has taken a turn for the worse so far in 2015. First, after reporting no violations of the limitation on the sulfur content of its coke oven gas during the fourth quarter of 2014, Shenango reported twenty-nine such violations in the first quarter of 2015, with twenty-one of those violations occurring during the month of March.

Second, Shenango itself reported no violations of a limitation that prohibits visible emissions from more than five percent of the coke oven doors during the first quarter of 2015. However, ACHD’s inspectors observed three violations of that limitation during the first quarter.

Third, Shenango continues to violate both applicable limitations on visible emissions from its battery combustion stack–the limitation that prohibits emissions that have 20% or more opacity for more than three minutes in any one-hour period, and the limitation that prohibits emissions that have 60% or more opacity at any time. Shenango violated the 20% standard seventy-four times during the first quarter of 2015, and the 60% standard six times. The graphs below show that Shenango’s violations of those limitations have continued at an increasing rate in recent years despite government enforcement actions in 2012 and 2014. The black diagonal lines in the graphs are trend lines that we generated using Microsoft Excel:

Shen20-060415 Shen60-060415


You can view video of some of the facility and its emissions here. GASP filed a citizen suit against Shenango under the Clean Air Act to enforce these standards in May 2014 in the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania. GASP is currently appealing the dismissal of its claims in that suit to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

–John Baillie, Staff Attorney

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  1. BENAVON says:

    I cannot believe that county, state, federal government agencies, who are created to serve the public would let this facility pump out pollution right into a largely populated community of Bellevue, Ben Avon, Emsworth, Avalon. How should i react when I have a 6 year old who was brought to this community because of excellent schools, beautiful houses, neighbors, and trees, all to be poisoned by a negligent business who blatantly disobey’ s the EPA standards.

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