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Phase1 - Environmental Site Assessment



No.2 Open Hearth (SCU 17)


At 1000 feet long and over 100 feet high, the No. 2 Open Hearth Building formed a barrier between the west and east sides of the plant for over 50 years (Figure 5-1). In the open hearth furnaces, steel was created and poured into ingots for use in the milling operations.


Original Metal Mixer Building (Beaton Institute)

The No. 2 Open Hearth began in 1913 as a building housing two 500-ton mixing furnaces. The metal mixer received iron from the blast furnaces and combined it with other raw materials to create the feedstock for the open hearth furnaces in the No. 1 Open Hearth Building.Soon after construction, it was decided to convert the mixing furnaces into 100-ton open hearth furnaces.


In 1939, the building was enlarged so that steel could be poured in the shop. A year later two more open hearth furnaces were added, followed by a fifth in 1942. A 700-ton mixer was added to the north end of the building in 1944. The “Tea Kettle” or “Big Sister” remains on the site today, the building having been demolished around it in 2001.


Looking North at the NO.2 Open Hearth
(Beaton Institute)


In 1947, the fuel source for the furnaces was changed from gas to bunker ‘C’ fuel. By 1957, a sixth open hearth furnace was added to the north of the original two converted mixer furnaces. In 1984, with the completion of the modernization of the No. 3 Blast Furnace, the 700-ton mixer fell into obsolescence.


In June 1989, the final “heats” of the open hearth ovens were produced. Over the next 12 years, portions of the building were used for storage while the general condition of the structure deteriorated. The building was turned over to the demolition contractor on October 31, 2001 with demolition starting on November 20, 2001. By February 26, 2002 all but a small portion of the southern end of the structure had been demolished.

On the east side of the building, a calcine plant was constructed in the early 1970s. This plant was never used, and was demolished in 2001. The west side of the building, on the other hand, saw a variety of uses over the past century. Several railway tracks are located throughout this area. Some tracks have been abandoned and covered with slag for many years.

Like the No. 1 Open Hearth, gas producers were associated with the No. 2 Open Hearth in the 1950s. The nature and length of service of the two units, located on the west side of the building, is not known. At least six aboveground petroleum storage tanks have been located in the same area over the past 60 years. The later two tanks, removed in 2001, served as day tanks for the two package boilers installed in the south end of the building in the 1980s.

Underground bunker ‘C’ pipelines supplied fuel to the open hearth furnaces from the four aboveground storage tanks located near the High Dump. The lines enter the building approximately 200 metres from the south end.


  Interior of Open Hearth Building,
Demolished in 2001/2002

A boiler house was constructed near the northwest corner of the No. 2 Open Hearth Building prior to 1939. The northern half of the building was later demolished, and the southern half used as a water pump house. In the 1990s, the south half of the remaining structure was converted to a PCB Storage Building. This facility was decommissioned in July 2001, and subsequently demolished.  

Six 60-metre high stacks once lined the west side of the building. The #4 stack was demolished in the 1980s to make way for renovations, and the remaining five stacks were demolished on August 30, 2001. Residues inside the stack were tested prior to demolition and found to contain mainly iron ore dust. The southernmost stack, associated with the #6 open hearth furnace, had a coating that contained non-friable asbestos fibres. The low overall concentration of asbestos in the material made it suitable for disposal as non-hazardous waste. The material was placed in a disposal area near the High Dump, as approved by NSDEL (Refer to Section 5.4.13).

Through the latter half of 2001, a hazardous materials survey of the Open Hearth building was conducted by SEACOR Environmental, and environmental decommissioning plans drawn up based on the results. All asbestos was removed from the building, and all utilities such as Coke Ovens gas lines and bunker ‘C’ lines were decommissioned. No significant environmental decommissioning issues are outstanding with regards to the aboveground structures.

Several sewers traverse the No. 2 Open Hearth area. 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. 2 Open Hearth building. 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. In most cases, sanitary wastewater was discharged to process sewers.

The majority of open space in this area is covered with granular materials. Stormwater catchbasins are located throughout the area, presenting the possibility of siltation and sediment impacts to receiving waters.

Potential Environmental Issues are discussed on the following page.

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