|The Caster Building was constructed between
1973 and 1975. In this building, the molten steel was cast into slabs
and blooms that in turn would be rolled into steel products in the
rolling mills. A wastewater treatment system is located on the north
side of the building, including a large clarifier tank.
The Electric Arc Furnace was constructed during the modernization
program carried out in 1988/89. Using an electric arc to melt scrap
steel, this facility replaced the blast furnaces and open hearth
furnaces located in the north end of the site.
The Bag House, located to the south of the EAF Building, is the
primary air pollution control device for the electric arc furnace.
Bag House dust was disposed in the EAF dust landfill located near
the High Dump. The unit is primarily constructed of metal and concrete
with associated ducting, fans, cooler, bags, compartments, pelletizer
and conveyor system. The control room is constructed of concrete,
brick and steel. The control room contains florescent lighting and
electrical control panels.
Baghouse dust contains heavy metals such as lead, cadmium, chromium
and zinc and may contain dioxin. Recent reports by Environment Canada
suggest that electric arc furnaces may generate dioxins and furans
through the intense heating process. As this is a recent discovery,
no studies have been performed at the Sydney Steel Plant. While
there is no evidence to suggest that this is the case, the possibility
exists that dioxin and furan residues may have impacted the interior
surfaces of the EAF building.
Due to their young age, the EAF Building and Bag House are not
anticipated to contain hazardous building materials such as asbestos
or PCBs. The older Caster Building may contain these materials.
In fact, 14 PCB-containing transformers are associated with the
Caster Building (Sydney Steel PCB Inventory).
Pipelines conveying gas from the coking process followed the East
Perimeter Road from the Victoria Road overpass to the No. 2 Open
Hearth building. At certain locations this pipe ran underground,
including the Steel Production Area. A 24-inch diameter pipe runs
from the east side of the East Perimeter Road near the Brick Shed
in a northwestern direction, terminating at the former location
of the No. 1 Open Hearth Building. Due to the fact that the coke
ovens gas was, in effect, exhaust from the coking process, PAH impacts,
volatile compounds and flammable residues may be associated with
the coke ovens gas lines.
Several small and large diameter sewers, some dating to the original
steel plant, traverse the Steel Shop Complex. Over the years, it
is suspected that a variety of chemicals and petroleum products
may have been disposed through the steel plant sewer system, including
the process sewer from the No. 1 Open Hearth building, the Caster
House, and the EAF. This sewer discharges at the head of Blast Furnace
Cove. The potential exists for soil and groundwater impacts at location
where this sewer line may have leaked or deteriorated.
The majority of open space in this area is covered with granular
materials. Slopes at certain locations show signs of surface erosion.
Stormwater catchbasins are located throughout the area, presenting
the possibility of siltation and sediment impacts to receiving waters.
A general provision in SYSCO’s Industrial Approval states
that preventative maintenance must be carried out on all wastewater
treatment processes, including collector pits, sumps, clarifiers,
oil separators, and settling basins. Since the plant ceased operations
in 2000, occasional inspections have been conducted of the dormant
Potential Environmental Issues
Several potential environmental issues are associated with the Steel
Shop Complex. Various containers of solvents, lubricants and paints
remain in the buildings, as well as ozone depleting substances such
as CFCs, contained in air conditioning units, water coolers and
refrigerators. Glycol has been used as a hydraulic fluid at several
locations in the EAF and Caster buildings. Most glycol was exchanged
for petroleum-based hydraulic fluid in 1993/94.
Due to the past operation of the coal gasification plants, coal
tar and light oil contamination may be present in the subsurface
of SCU 16. Although the gas producers had ceased operation by the
mid-20th century, impacts may yet be present depending on the manner
in which by-products were disposed. Environmental issues of concern
associated with the rail tracks will include creosote rail ties
and potential contaminated soil under and adjacent to the tracks.
As with all steel production and fabrication areas at the plant,
the heating of steel, storage of raw materials and air emissions
may have resulted in heavy metal and PAH impacts to soils and groundwater
in the Steel Shop Complex. The use of bunker ‘C’ fuel,
solvents, glycol and lubricants may also have resulted in impacts
to soil and groundwater. Dioxin, heavy metal, and PAH residues may
be present in the EAF and Caster Buildings.