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Allegheny County Health Department Seeks Public Comment on Proposed Coke Oven Regs

The Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) on Friday is now seeking public comment on its proposed coke oven regulations, according to a press release issued Friday.

The proposed regulation changes were presented to the Board of Health on Nov. 4, when members voted to approve ACHD’s request to open a 60-day public comment period.

In the release, ACHD wrote: 

Coke making is a process by which coal is baked at very high temperatures in an air-free oven to create a fuel that is used to make steel. The process produces coke oven gas which contains volatile products such as benzene, tar, sulfur compounds, ammonia and methane. The Health Department has authority to regulate this process under Article XXI, which pertains to air pollution control. 

The only coke facility in Allegheny County is at U.S. Steel’s Clairton Works. The Health Department has met with U.S. Steel 11 times since June 2020 to discuss the proposed regulation changes. 

The regulation changes will:

  •       Incorporate coke oven inspection procedures into the regulations;
  •       Address issues of stringency with federal and Pennsylvania regulations;
  •       Correct coke oven gas standards, and
  •       Remove outdated language.

The proposed revisions and changes are available on the Health Department’s Air Quality web site at www.alleghenycounty.us/regs-sips. Written copies may be obtained by contacting Paulette Poullet, at paulette.poullet@alleghenycounty.us or 412-578-8103. 

Comments will be accepted until 4:00 p.m. on January 21. Comments may be submitted via e-mail to aqcomments@alleghenycounty.us or by mail to:

Allegheny County Health Department

Attention: Paulette Poullet

301 39th Street, Bldg. 7

Pittsburgh, PA 15201-1811 

All correspondence must include first and last name and a complete mailing address. 

A public hearing will be held virtually on Jan. 20 at 5 p.m.  in compliance with safety precautions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

  •       The hearing will be live streamed on the Health Department’s Facebook page. You do not need a Facebook account to watch the hearing. 

  •       To view the live stream, visit: https://www.facebook.com/AlleghenyCountyHealth/.

  •       People who wish to present testimony at the hearing must register by going to the ACHD’s Air Quality website at www.alleghenycounty.us/regs-sips. Those who do not have access to the internet may register by contacting Paulette Poullet, at 412-578-8103.

  •       You must register to present testimony at least 24 hours in advance of the virtual hearing. 

  •       Testimony is limited to three minutes. Witnesses are requested to submit written copies of the testimony by email to aqcomments@alleghenycounty.us.

GASP will be submitting public comments on these regulations – stay tuned.

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