NEW YORK U.S. Steel Corp. is in negotiations with the Allegheny County (Pa.) Health Department (ACHD) to extend the commissioning period for its new Clairton, Pa., coke battery to give the steelmaker time to bring it in line with local and federal emissions standards.
"There will be a formal agreement that defines the terms and conditions of allowing them to continue to operate until they come into compliance," James E. Thompson, ACHDs air quality program manager, told AMM.
The Pittsburgh-based company "is seeking an additional extension for the commissioning period for the charging process to allow for necessary adjustments," a U.S. Steel spokeswoman said. "It is appropriate to anticipate a commissioning period greater than 180 days for a complex innovative process to be fully implemented."
The 180-day commissioning period typically allowed by the ACHD ended May 23, with the facility having started up late last November.
"They currently are not in compliance with their permit in regards to charging emissions," Thompson said.
Under local standards, which are more stringent than federal standards, the coke battery can have 55 seconds of emissions for any five consecutive charges of coal, according to Thompson. "They (emissions) are three to five times greater than that," he added.
U.S. Steel might need to make changes to the battery to reduce emissions, Thompson said.
The county is likely to seek some form of enforcement action going forward, such as requiring the company to reduce emissions elsewhere in the plant, he said.
"Its the first start-up of a major coke facility in about 20 years, so its not surprising that there would be some issues that they would face," Thompson said.
U.S. Steel expects that by July 31 it will be compliant with all emissions requirements, except those on charging, according to the spokeswoman.
The steelmaker has touted emissions compliance as one of the boons of its new $500-million coke battery (amm.com, Feb. 1).