Republic Steel has violated a court order over lead emissions in the air


CANTON – Republic Steel was fined $ 50,000 on July 3 and 9 for exceeding court-ordered lead emission limits on July 3 and July 9, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency said Friday .

The Ohio EPA ordered lead steel production, the source of emissions, to be halted.

An air quality monitor on Georgetown Road across from the Republic’s Northeast Canton Mill recorded lead emissions of 1.67 micrograms of lead per cubic meter of air on July 3 and 2.37 micrograms of lead per cubic meter of air on July 9, the Ohio EPA said in a message share with.

Samples from the monitor must be sent to a laboratory in Columbus and were returned on July 28th.

More:Residents express outrage at Republic Steel over lead, EPA promises further action

More:The city plans to offer lead testing to those affected by Republic Steel

The EPA federal maximum for airborne lead emissions is 0.15 micrograms per cubic meter of air over a three month period, but a court order of $ 25,000 fine and production shutdown.

Representatives from Republic Steel and its lawyers did not immediately respond by email and phone on Friday afternoon.

The Republic will only be allowed to resume leaded steel production if the source of the emissions is found and eliminated, according to the Ohio EPA.

At a public session on July 20, Terri Dzienis, the air pollution director for Canton City Public Health, demonstrated an air quality monitoring filter like the one near the Republic Steel Canton facility that was tested for lead levels above court-mandated levels in July .

The court imposed the stricter limits at the behest of the Ohio Attorney General after the Georgetown Road monitor showed lead emission peaks for three days in May that drove the three-month average above the EPA limit.

The court order also obliged the company to examine its air filter systems for improvements, to take measures against dust circulation on the factory premises and to employ a compliance officer.

Residents and local officials at a public gathering on July 20 expressed their outrage over the lead role releases and urged regulators to take further action against the company or to shut down the plant. Officials from the Ohio EPA and Canton City Public Health Service told attendees the court order would help bring the company into line.

“Everything is going as usual at the mill, and I can’t say it’s shocking to me,” said Pete Carpico, who lives in Georgeview Estates, on Friday. The development is about a quarter mile southeast of the plant’s lead steel production facility.

"Over in the mill the business is as always" Canton resident Pete Carpico said Friday after the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency announced that Republic Steel had been fined $ 50,000 for violating a court order on airborne lead emissions.

Carpico, who also sits on the neighborhood association’s board of directors, said it was too early to say whether the injunction was ineffective as the violations came shortly after the order was imposed on July 2.

He believes the Ohio EPA will need to send one of its own workers to the facility when it comes to processing leaded steel.

“The Ohio EPA needs to be involved, and it needs to go beyond monitoring,” Carpico said. “It has to be more proactive than reactive.”

District 4 councilor Chris Smith, who represents the mill area, said Friday she was pleased that the Ohio EPA picked up the violations and imposed the fine.

“I’m glad things like this happen and they’re into Republic Steel,” she said. “It shows that (the court order) is working for now, but more needs to be done.”

Smith wants to see “drastic” changes in the mill and wants the money from the fines to be used to compensate local residents.

The plant, which employs almost 290 steel workers, is one of the few plants in the region that produces leaded steel that is more malleable than other types of steel. Leaded steel is in high demand for manufacturing, and union officials told the repository in June that most of the mill’s revenue in recent months has come from orders for leaded steel.

The cantonal health department has announced that it will offer lead tests to the residents affected by the system. No date has yet been announced for these tests.

Reach Alexander at 330-580-8342 or [email protected]

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