Community Issues

Order Speeds Up Repairs to U.S. Steel Clairton Works

A new enforcement order will speed up the repairs to U.S. Steel's fire-damaged Clairton Coke Works plant.


A new enforcement order will speed up the repairs to U.S. Steel's fire-damaged Clairton Coke Works plant, but the company says it's not sure the work can be done in time. The Allegheny County Health Department issued the new order which demands the work be completed and the plant be 100% operational by April 15th, about a month ahead of schedule.

Community members have been pressuring officials for months, upset the release of sulphur dioxide into the air from the fire in December, and the delay in notifying residents about air quality problems. They've also demanded that regulators make sure air quality is healthy going forward.

PA Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman, who served as mayor of neighboring Braddock before being elected lieutenant governor visited the factory last month . At that time, Fetterman expressed an understanding that repairs of this magnitude should not be rushed. So far no reaction from him on the Health Department's new, earlier deadline.

"This was an enormous fire, gigantic, and the rebuilding process is going to take a while when you consider the enormity," Lt. Gov. John Fetterman

U.S. Steel issued a statement, saying the company is disappointed that the Health Department seems to be rushing the repairs. "We are currently reviewing the Order to determine if compliance with its requirements can be achieved and sustained in a safe manner without compromising environmental performance," said U.S. Steel spokeswoman Meghan Cox in a statement sent to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette .

In addition to setting the new deadline, the county's order also requires U.S. Steel to begin extending what's called "coking time" from the current 22 hours to 27 hours by March 23. Coking time is the amount of time smoke is generated from the coal, according to GaspGroup.org .

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