The Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) wants more
information from ArcelorMittal about waste piles stockpiled at its Burns
Harbor facility in excess of six months.
Following inspections on March 10-11 and April 19, IDEM officials gave the
company 30 days to provide additional details about the waste piles and in
particular a clearer idea of when portions of the waste piles might be
recycled at the facility.
The inspections uncovered only one actual violation, however, according to
the IDEM report: a small release from leaking pipes at the waste coal tar
storage tanks. That violation was addressed during the inspection, the
More at issue are the multiple sites at the facility where a variety of
solid wastes has been stockpiled: sludge from the wastewater treatment
plant, black furnace filter cake, bricks, and BOF rubble.
It is IDEM’s position—what it calls a “rebuttable presumption”—that any
“storage” of waste longer than six months is actually final “disposal”
itself, the report states, and “information was obtained during the
inspection indicating at least some portion” of those waste piles “will be
disposed as solid waste.”
The company, “in rebuttal,” has indicated that “some percentage of all
wastestreams in question have been or will be introduced to the steelmaking
process,” that is, recycled.
IDEM wants to know—and this is the thrust of the inspection report—pretty
much what percentage exactly will be recycled and what percentage held for
ultimate disposal in the Deerfield Storage Facility, the proposed landfill
site currently under review by IDEM.
The company accordingly has 30 days to provide IDEM with “an estimate of the
amount that can currently be recycled for use in the steelmaking process and
specific timelines for processing and placement of stockpiled material into
the proposed on-site land disposal facility or steelmaking process.”
IDEM spokesperson Amy Hartsock told the Chesterton Tribune today that
IDEM does “not anticipate the inspection report’s having any effect on the
review process” for the Deerfield facility.
“But IDEM wants more information on those waste materials to ensure that
solid waste regulations are being applied appropriately,” Hartsock said.
“The steel industry reuses a large proportion of secondary waste materials
generated by pollution controls,” Hartsock noted. “Recycling is encouraged
in any type of facility. So if there’s an alternative use for something,
that’s what we would encourage.”
Hartsock did add that the “Peninsula,” for instance—where basic oxygen
furnace materials are stored—has been in existence since 1980, which
pre-dates Thomas Easterly’s joining the former Bethlehem Steel. Easterly is
currently serving as IDEM Commissioner.