Ontario's spill action centre called after Dofasco blast furnace caused visible emission
The company says the emissions would include carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and nitrogen
ArcelorMittal Dofasco says it is investigating and called the province's spill action centre after an emission from a blast furnace may have put carbon monoxide and other substances into the air.
The Hamilton steel factory said the emission was spotted on Friday morning at 8:17 a.m.
"The visible emission was from the blast furnace's 'bleeder valve' and lasted 12 seconds," the company said in a notice.
Bleeders are pressure relief valves that open as the furnace experiences high top pressure.
The company says the emission would include carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and nitrogen. It would also include particulates from iron, ore fines, coke fines, carbon and coal.
It said the Ministry of Environment, Parks and Conservation was alerted.
Gary Wheeler, a ministry spokesperson, said ArcelorMittal Dofasco assessed its properties along the beach strip and did not note any visible fallout from the event.
"An environmental officer contacted ArcelorMittal Dofasco requesting the camera footage and root cause analysis be submitted to the ministry by March 12. We will review the information as soon as we receive it," he said in an email.
"The ministry has not received any complaints regarding the emission or fallout."
Four incidents in 5 months
This is the second emission issue this year. The first came in January after the fume collection system failed while casting iron at the No. 4 blast furnace.
Dofasco said that emission would have been comprised of nitrogen, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, hydrogen, sulphur dioxide and iron oxide.
But there were also two incidents late last year.
On Christmas Day, an explosion at a steel factory sent clouds of brown and red smoke into the air. The province requested a detailed report.
And a month before that, there was a liquid steel spill.
Lynda Lukasik, Environment Hamilton's executive director, said she's concerned about the most recent incident and the string of recent issues.
"It makes me really uncomfortable, and I can't imagine how it makes people who live closer to the plant feel," she said.
"People are concerned about what's coming out of the facility, what's falling onto their property. The December event literally shook people up, and it's always a struggle because you hear the explanation and then, in some cases, they were accidents that caused the problem, but it leads you to ask ... why does it seem like we're seeing accidents with increasing frequency?"
Dofasco did not immediately respond to a request for comment.