East Chicago coke plant hit with $5M air-pollution fine

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SunCoke Energy Inc. and CokenergyLLC have agreed to pay a $5 million penalty to resolve alleged U.S. air pollution violations at their plant in East Chicago.

The operation supplies coke for the blast furnaces at the ArcelorMittal Indiana Harbor steel mill in East Chicago.

The settlement was announced Jan. 25 by the U.S. Justice Department, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Indiana attorney general and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.  

focus-briefs-indiana-harbor-15col.jpg Cokenergy will spend $250,000 on a lead abatement project in the East Chicago area to reduce lead hazards in schools, day care centers, and other buildings. (Photo courtesy of SunCoke Energy Inc.)

The settlement also requires comprehensive coke-oven rebuilds to address oven leaks, including potential permanent shutdown of the worst-performing battery. The companies have agreed to enhanced monitoring and testing requirements, including two stack tests to measure lead emissions. Further, the settlement requires implementation of preventive maintenance and operations plans to minimize excess emissions.

In addition, under the settlement agreement, Cokenergy will spend $250,000 on a lead abatement project in the East Chicago area to reduce lead hazards in schools, day care centers, and other buildings, with priority given to young children and pregnant women.

The agreement will result in estimated annual reductions of 2,075 tons of coke oven emissions, which are hazardous air pollutants, the government agencies said.

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