More than six months after firing up a new battery of coke ovens designed to reduce emissions from one of the region’s most common sources of air quality complaints, U.S. Steel is still trying to bring the new equipment at its Clairton plant into compliance with county emissions requirements.
The Pittsburgh steel producer has asked the Allegheny County Health Department to give the company more time to comply with those standards.
“They have asked to extend the shakedown period,” said Jim Thompson, manager of the department’s air quality program. ”As far as the plant itself, emissions are way down from where they were five years ago.”
The new battery cost $500 million and was designed to enable the plant, a perennial source of air quality complaints, to significantly reduce emissions and meet certain air quality standards months earlier than government officials targeted. When U.S. Steel held a ceremony at the new battery in January, United Steelworkers union president Leo Gerard hailed it as “the most environmentally sound, emission-reducing coke plant probably anywhere in the world.”