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Allegheny County Health Department Issues Enforcement Order to U.S. Steel’s Edgar Thomson Plant Over Visible Emissions

The Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) has issued an enforcement order against U.S. Steel for opacity violations at its Edgar Thomson facility.

The enforcement order, which is dated June 1, was posted to the ACHD website today, Aug. 13, and addresses two instances — one on Oct. 24, 2019, and the other on April 23 of this year –when visible emissions exceeded applicable limits.

The county’s air quality regulations prohibit the opacity of visible emissions from a flue or process fugitive emissions from a source equaling or exceeding 60 percent at any time. Regulations also prohibit opacity equaling or exceeding 20 percent for a period or periods aggregating more than three minutes in any 60-minute period.

According to the enforcement orders, visible emissions observed on Oct. 24, 2019, exceeded 60 percent opacity during two observations made by a certified observer. On April 23, emissions were observed with as high as 90 percent opacity.

The order demanded that U.S. Steel submit to ACHD all documents and communications related to both incidents within 30 days. The order also indicates that a $25,000-a-day fine could be assessed if the company does not comply with the terms of the order.

It was not immediately clear if U.S. Steel had complied with the order, as no further information was available on the ACHD website.

The enforcement order comes as GASP is calling on ACHD to release a substantive public update on emissions issues at Edgar Thomson, as well as a compliance report the public was promised nearly three years ago.

You can read more about those issues and sign our petition here.

You can read the enforcement order here.

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