The Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) has issued a notice of applicability to Magnus Productions, telling the company that it must comply with the recently approved Mon Valley Air Pollution Episode Rules.
Here’s what happened: ACHD on Jan. 27 issued an amended permit to the company for the operation of the former Braddock Recovery facility at U.S. Steel’s Edgar Thomson plant, making it subject to the new rules.
The company has until April 27 to submit plans – one for the watch phase and one for the warning phase – detailing how it will reduce its generation of both fine and coarse particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10 respectively) in the event of an air pollution event.
Never heard of Magnus Productions? The company operates Braddock Recovery, Inc., which is located on U.S. Steel’s Edgar Thompson Plant site.
This facility receives waste products from U.S. Steel, including furnace flue dust, slag and sludge, mill scale, and coke fines, dries them in a rotary kiln fired with coke oven gas, combines them with lime, cement, sodium silicate, water, bentonite, and molasses in a wet mixing process in two pugmills, and forms the moist mix into briquettes.
These finished briquettes are piled on-site with a radial stacker and then loaded onto railcars and sent back to US Steel to be used in the furnaces.
Magnus Productions is the 17th facility to be subject to the new Mon Valley Air Pollution Episode rules. Just last week, ACHD announced that it had approved the plans submitted by 10 operators required to comply with the Mon Valley Air Pollution Episode rules and rejected six others – including those for U.S. Steel’s Clairton Coke Works and Edgar Thomson facilities.
You can read more about why ACHD rejected U.S. Steel’s mitigation plans on our blog.
Just as a reminder about those rules: The Mon Valley Episode Rule is an addition to the local Air Pollution Control Regulations and was signed into law in September 2021 by Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald to develop and implement a system to respond to weather-related inversions in the Mon Valley, which can result in episodes of high levels of particulate matter pollution that can impact public health, exacerbating conditions like asthma and cardiovascular disease.
Under the rule, air quality staff monitors pollution forecasts for conditions that could lead to an episode. When conditions are likely to exceed acceptable levels for the Mon Valley, sources are required to follow approved mitigation plans to reduce their emissions.
An Air Pollution Watch is issued when weather conditions are forecast to cause a high concentration of particulates in the Mon Valley, and an Air Pollution Warning is issued when the exceedance occurs and is expected to continue for 24 hours.
The rule applies to sources within or near the following municipalities: Braddock, Braddock Hills, Chalfant, Clairton, Dravosburg, Duquesne, East McKeesport, East Pittsburgh, Elizabeth Borough, Elizabeth Township, Forest Hills, Forward, Glassport, Jefferson Hills, Liberty, Lincoln, McKeesport, Munhall, North Braddock, North Versailles, Port Vue, Rankin, Swissvale, Turtle Creek, Versailles, Wall, West Elizabeth, West Mifflin, White Oak, Wilkins, Wilmerding and Whitaker.
The department communicates these warnings and watches to the public through the Allegheny Alerts system. Users can choose to receive these communications via email, text, and/or phone call. To sign up go here.
Editor’s Note: Click here to read a guidance document ACHD has provided to facilities subject to the rule.