Hamilton

Liquid steel spill at Dofasco prompts provincial Spill Action Team to investigate

The province's Spill Action Centre is investigating at Dofasco after a liquid steel spill on Saturday.

No one was injured by the spill on Saturday but it caused a grey plume to rise into the air

ArcelorMittal Dofasco reported a liquid steel spill on Saturday. (Submitted by Billy Spencer)

The province's Spill Action Centre is investigating at Dofasco after a liquid steel spill on Saturday.

ArcelorMittal Dofasco issued a notice to staff about the incident at the company's No. 2 Caster.

It happened shortly before 1:30 p.m.

"The caster is where liquid steel is cast into slabs. There was a malfunction in the transfer of the liquid steel into the caster, causing a spill," reads the notice. 

"The area is controlled and secure as of approximately 2:25 p.m. Fortunately, there are no injuries as employees are not allowed in the area for safety reasons."

The Ontario Ministry of Environment, Parks and Conservation — which is investigating the spill — said workers allowed the molten spill to solidify and then cleaned it up.

The liquid steel spill caused a grey plume to rise into the air on Saturday. (Environment Hamilton/Facebook)

The spill caused a grey plume to rise into the air.

"Most of the dose water, approximately 30,000 litres, evaporated and the remainder went into the facilities treatment plant and containment pond. No foam or chemicals were used in fighting the fire," reads the statement from ministry spokesperson Gary Wheeler.

"Hamilton fire crews were at the scene to fight the fire that resulted from the breakout."

Marie Verdun, ArcelorMittal Dofasco's spokesperson, said the emission contained dust from the steel, steam generated by the reaction between the water used by firefighters, and the liquid steel and smoke from the combustibles in the area that caught fire.

"Combustibles would be things like equipment, cabling, and fluids in the equipment, for example," she explained.

Environment Hamilton hopes more info will come

There have been ongoing concerns about the factory's basic oxygen furnace and the emissions that come out of it, said Lynda Lukasik, Environment Hamilton's executive director.

She hopes there will be more information about what caused the spill and how the company will address it moving forward, she said.

"To see emissions at that kind of intensity coming out of the plant into the air, nobody wants to see that happening, including the company," Lukasik said in a phone interview.

Wheeler said ministry staff will continue to stay on top of this issue and will be at the site Monday morning to gather more details.

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