Monday, February 4, 2019

DEP Orders Erie (Coal) Coke Corp. To Submit Control Plan To Resolve Online Air Quality Violations

On February 4, the Department of Environmental Protection announced it has ordered Erie Coke Corporation to address ongoing violations of the Pennsylvania Air Pollution Control Act at Erie Coke’s coke production facility in the City of Erie.  
“This action requires Erie Coke Corporation to re-evaluate its methods of operation and plan equipment to ensure that the facility is operated in full accordance with its permit and the applicable rules and regulations for the protection of our citizens. DEP is committed to enforcing the commonwealth’s conditions of the permits we issue and protecting Pennsylvania’s air,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell.
Since June 2017, DEP has documented numerous and ongoing violations at the facility located near the channel entrance to Presque Isle Bay. Violations cited in the Order include, among others:
-- Failing to operate a hydrogen sulfide absorber pollution control device at all times when operating the coke oven batteries;
-- Flaring or combustion of coke oven by-product gas with hydrogen sulfide concentrations greater than allowed;
-- Excessive visible fugitive emissions from coke pushing operations;
-- Over 12,000 minutes of excessive visible emissions from the battery combustion stack between January and September of 2018;
-- Failing to prevent topside and door emissions as required by permit;
-- Failing to prevent visible fugitive particulate matter emissions from crossing off the Erie Coke property;
-- Failing to promptly remove earth or other material from paved streets onto which earth or other material was transported by trucking;
-- Failing to conduct annual stack testing of the Coke Side Shed Baghouse.
Many of the violations are similar those addressed by a 2010 consent decree between the DEP and Erie Coke. The consent decree terminated in 2015 after Erie Coke upgraded the facility and paid $4 million in penalties.
DEP has not detected exceedances of ambient air quality standards at its monitors in the area, but continues to investigate the effects of Erie Coke’s violations.
DEP’s order requires Erie Coke to complete stack testing of the Coke Side Shed Baghouse within 30 days after the DEP approves a stack testing protocol, immediately notify the DEP if the hydrogen sulfide absorber is taken out of service, and within 60 days, submit a plan and schedule to correct the violations.  
Erie Coke has applied to renew its Title V operating permit for the facility and that application is under review by DEP.
Many of the violations noted in the Order were documented as part of the DEP’s compliance review for the renewal of the Title V operating permit.
Media questions should be directed to Neil Shader at 717-787-1323 or by email to:

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