Shenango Inc. will pay a $1.75 million penalty to settle serious and ongoing air and water pollution violations from 2005 to the present at its coke works on Neville Island, according to a filing in U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh today.
The consent agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, state Department of Environmental Protection and the Allegheny County Health Department also requires the company, owned since 2008 by DTE Energy Services, to control and reduce illegal emissions throughout its coke-making process and construct a biological wastewater treatment and stormwater management facility.
The facility has a 30-year history of air pollution problems that have resulted in federal consent orders in 1980, 1993 and 2000 and a county consent order in 2005. Since 1990 and prior to 2011, the facility has paid fines totaling more than $2 million.
A statement issued about the settlement by DTE, based in Ann Arbor, Mich., said the company recognizes the long-term pollution problems of the Shenango operation and has sought to bring the facilities into compliance with environmental standards.
"This settlement is a milestone in our efforts to resolve historical environmental issues and bring the operations and environmental performance of Shenango up to first-tier status," said Gary Gross, DTE vice president.
"When we acquired the facility, we were well aware of its history. We would not have proceeded with the purchase unless we had confidence that we could dramatically improve performance and establish Shenango as a good neighbor and a valuable asset to the community."
Emissions from the coke works were a contributing factor to Avalon, located downwind on most days from the Shenango operations, having the dirtiest air in Allegheny County in 2010, according to county health department monitoring data.
In the first seven months of 2011, Shenango had 114 air quality violations and paid a $114,000 fine to the health department.
The Shenango coke facility opened in 1962, employs about 150 workers and operates one coke oven battery with 56 ovens that produce approximately 380,000 tons of metallurgical coke a year.
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Don Hopey: email@example.com or 412-263-1983.