Dofasco: Acid mist in East Hamilton was 'isolated'

Residents in the east end neighbourhood of Crown Point say their homes and cars have been damaged by some sort of airborne emission – one that has left an “acidic” taste in the air.

Ministry of Environment has been notified, Merulla says

ArcelorMittal Dofasco is taking responsibility for a burst of acidic airborne emissions that some residents say have damaged their cars and homes.

The company says anyone affected by the emissions — the result of a burst pipe a couple of weeks ago — should contact it to have damages assessed. 

"The incident was isolated and the malfunction addressed so there is no longer any impact to our employees or the community, said Dofasco spokesperson Marie Verdun in a statement.

Residents in the east end neighbourhood of Crown Point complained over the weekend about some sort of airborne emission that left an acidic taste in the air.

Ward 4 Coun. Sam Merulla says more than 25 people in his ward have called or emailed him since Sunday, complaining about it and saying their homes and cars have been damaged

“I’ve contacted the Ministry of Environment and compiled a list of impacted residents,” Merulla said, adding that he will be pushing for compensation from the company that’s responsible.

Tarnished property

“It was a substance that has tarnished property,” he said. “The Ministry will be responding accordingly.”

The ministry's district manager, Geoffrey Knapper, said it has sent environmental officers to the area to take samples of the material. He said it first had a complaint on Thursday, even though the incident was couple of weeks ago.

Verdun said the company facility on Beach Road burst a pipe, which allowed hydrochloric acid to spill down the side of the building. At that time it was thought to be just a liquid spill with no impact off the site. It was reported to the Ministry of Environment. Later, the company learned there had been an airborne release as well.

"We later become aware that the spill also resulted in some mist with very low exposure levels near the facility and this was also reported to the Ministry of Environment," she said. "We learned that the residue damaged some vehicles close by. As a result, we are working directly with any community members or employees that may have been affected."

No lingering effects

Knapper said the samples being taken Monday would confirm the material.

"The ministry responded to the burst pipe at the time it was reported and did not observe any off site impacts at the time. The broken pipe was repaired by the company at the time," he said in a statement.

Verdun said human exposure, while unlikely, may cause very mild irritation to eyes, nose and throat only during the time of exposure, with no lingering effects.

The company says anyone who may have been affected by the incident can call it directly at 905 548 7200 x2490.


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