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Air Pollution Violations Lead to a $6K Penalty for ATI, Harsco Following Dust Complaints

The Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) on Aug. 11 issued a demand for stipulated penalties in the amount of $6,000 to ATI Flat Rolled Products and Harsco Corp. following residents’ complaints about dust on their cars that emanated from the nearby Natrona-based slag processing operations.

The demand indicated that Brackenridge-based ATI (a specialty steel manufacturer) and Harsco (which processes slag from ATI) violated the county’s Air Pollution Control regulations four times between April 1, 2020 and June 30, 2020.

According to ACHD, an investigation revealed that the dust observed on residents’ vehicles was consistent with slag fugitive emissions from Harsco/ATI operations.  A previous investigation by the health department determined that the dust was primarily lime. Inhaling lime dust may lead to irritation of breathing passages, coughing and sneezing.

How did ACHD come up with the $6,000 figure? A consent agreement between ACHD, ATI, and Harsco on Jan. 7, 2020 set a penalty of $1,500 per violation. 

ATI and Harsco have 30 days from the date of the demand to submit payment to ACHD.

You can read more about the consent agreement – which required that the companies construct a building to enclose slag operations as well as pay a $107,000 civil penalty – on our blog

In a separate enforcement action, ACHD on July 30 assessed a $1,320 civil penalty against ATI for an opacity violation that occurred July 7, 2019 and was brought to light in a semi-annual report the company submitted to the department on Jan. 30, 2020. You can read the entire Notice of Violation here. 

Editor’s Note: The enforcement actions against ATI and Harsco were among many that ACHD published to its website on Aug. 13. The department also filed enforcement actions against U.S. Steel for visible emissions issues at its Edgar Thomson plant, as well as the GenOn plant in Springdale. There were also a number of asbestos-related actions, as well as one involving a local crematorium.  

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