We recently checked up on Shenango Inc.’s compliance with limitations on the sulfur content of its coke oven gas, visible emissions from the door areas of its coke ovens, and visible emissions from its battery combustion stack, based on data for the fourth quarter of 2014 (the latest, publicly-available data). In a previous post, we discussed Shenango’s continued noncompliance with those limitations and the failure of an April 2014 enforcement action by the Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) to address them.
Shenango reported no violations of the limitation on the sulfur content of its coke oven gas during the fourth quarter of 2014. Shenango has not had a quarter without a violation of that limitation since the fourth quarter of 2012. Also, Shenango self-reported only one violation of a limitation that prohibits visible emissions from more than five percent of the coke oven doors during the fourth quarter of 2014.
However, ACHD’s inspectors observed an additional three violations of that limitation during the fourth quarter. Similarly, in the second and third quarters of 2014, ACHD’s inspectors observed two and six violations, respectively, while Shenango reported no violations in the second quarter and one violation in the third (in our previous blog posts, we incorrectly omitted the violations that ACHD observed from our discussions). Shenango undertook steps on its own to address such violations in recent years and they have reduced the number of violations, but have not eliminated them.
Unfortunately, during the fourth quarter of 2014, Shenango reported numerous violations of both limitations on visible emissions from its battery combustion stack: the limitation that prohibits emissions that have 20% or more opacity for more than three minutes in any one-hour period, and the limitation that prohibits emissions that have 60% or more opacity at any time. The graphs below show that Shenango’s violations of those limitations have continued at an increasing rate in recent years despite government enforcement actions in 2012 and 2014. The black diagonal lines in the graphs are trend lines that we generated using Microsoft Excel: