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Phase1 - Environmental Site Assessment



Rail Finishing Mill (SCU 13)


The Rail Finishing Mill (RFM) area lies between the East Perimeter Road and the Rolling Mills (Figure 5-1). The area is currently occupied by five distinct buildings: the Rail Head Hardening building, the Brick Shed, the Old Roll Shop, 5 Bay RFM, and 6/7/8 Bay RFM. With the exception of the Rail Head Hardening building, this complex was originally constructed in 1918 as a steel plate-manufacturing mill.

Spurred on by the demands for plate steel generated by World War 1, the Plate Mill quickly fell into disuse after the war ended. In 1941, the plate mill was rehabilitated and ran for the remainder of World War 2. Again, after the war ended, the plate mill fell into disuse, and was used for various purposes until the two southernmost buildings were put into use as the Rail Finishing Mill.

The Plate Mill reheat furnace building, at the north end of the production line, eventually came into use as a brick storage shed. Two wall-mounted transformers were observed inside the Brick Shed, and two aboveground fuel oil tanks are located outside the overhead door on the north side of the building. A steam pipe that transects the building is insulated with asbestos-containing material. The insulation is in good condition.

The remaining building, located between the Brick Shed and the 5 Bay RFM, found use as the roller maintenance shop for the rail mill. A laboratory building constructed in the early 20th century was located to the north of the Brick Shed, but this building was destroyed by fire in 1996.


Looking south a the Rail Head Hardening Building

Two different buildings have occupied the same location to the west of the 5 Bay RFM. Between 1907 and 1914, the No. 2 Mills Boiler House was constructed. This facility presumably supplied the Rolling Mills as well as the Plate Mill when it was constructed a few years later.  

The boiler house was demolished around 1970. By 1979, a Quonset Hut was constructed in roughly the same location, and used for the maintenance of RFM equipment. This prefabricated building was sold at auction in August 2001 and subsequently removed from the plant site.

The former Plate Mill buildings are of steel frame construction, with brick walls. Intermittently, the brick has been covered or replaced with metal siding. The roof is constructed of steel trusses and wooden sheathing, portions of which have been covered or replaced with metal siding. The roof of the 6/7/8 Bay RFM is in poor condition and is currently considered unsafe. The floors of all of the buildings are constructed of concrete. Due to the historic use of lubricants, the concrete is stained with oil and grease at various locations. The lighting in the buildings consists mainly of high intensity and fluorescent lighting. Several transformers were observed within the six electrical rooms for the Rail Finishing Mill. Four of these units are listed by SYSCO as containing PCB liquid.

The Rail Head Hardening Building was constructed in the early 1970s as a storage building, and was renovated in the 1980s for its current purpose. The building is a typical modern industrial building, of steel frame construction with metal siding.

Several railway tracks are located throughout this area. Some tracks have been abandoned and covered with slag. Environmental issues of concern associated with the rail tracks include creosote rail ties and potential contaminated soil under and adjacent to the tracks. In the past, used oil was often used for dust suppression on roadways on the steel plant property.

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 Mills Area. A 24-inch diameter pipe runs underground from the east side of the East Perimeter Road to the south of the Brick Shed and subsequently south through the “Courtyard” area, terminating at the south end of the former No. 1 Mills Boiler House. A second branch tees off this line at the southwest corner of the Old Roll Shop and proceeds north to the former location of the gas producer for the Blooming Mill in SCU 15. 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.

  Potential Environmental Issues  

Potential hazardous materials associated with the buildings in SCU 13 include asbestos-containing materials, PCB-containing lighting units and electrical transformers, mercury-containing lighting and equipment, lead-based paints, hydraulic lines and lubricant in equipment, petroleum storage and spills, and various types of chemical storage including paints, oils, grease and solvents. The interior of these buildings may also contain PAH or heavy metal residue.

Potential soil and groundwater issues associated with the Rail Finishing Mill area consist of heavy metal, petroleum hydrocarbon, PAH, PCB and solvent impacts as a result of historic on-site activities such as coal storage, electrical substation operation, and general chemical storage. Pesticide impacts may be present in soils and groundwater near the South Substation as a result of historical herbicide use.

Looking east at a portion of the
Rail Finishing Mill


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