The demand indicated that Brackenridge-based ATI (a specialty steel manufacturer) and Harsco (which processes slag from ATI) violated the county’s Air Pollution Control regulations five times between July 1, 2020 and Sept. 30, 2020. A $1,500 penalty was assessed for each violation.
According to ACHD, an investigation revealed that the dust observed on residents’ vehicles was consistent with slag fugitive emissions from Harsco/ATI operations. A previous investigation by the health department determined that the dust was primarily lime. Inhaling lime dust may lead to irritation of breathing passages, coughing and sneezing.
How did ACHD come up with the amount of the penalty? A Jan. 7 consent agreement between ACHD, ATI, and Harsco set a penalty of $1,500 per violation.
ATI and Harsco have 30 days from the date of the demand to submit payment to ACHD.
You can read more about the consent agreement – which required that the companies construct a building to enclose slag operations as well as pay a $107,000 civil penalty.
This is the second quarter during which ACHD issued a demand for stipulated penalties against ATI and Harsco. The department issued a $6,000 demand on Aug. 20 for violations made between April 30 and June 30, 2020.
In a separate enforcement action, ACHD on July 30 assessed a $1,320 civil penalty against ATI for an opacity violation that occurred July 7, 2019 and was brought to light in a semi-annual report the company submitted to the department on Jan. 30, 2020.