Four New Notices of Violation Issued for Erie Coke; Appeal Filed over DEP Action
The Pennsylvania Department of Environment Protection (DEP) issued four new notices of violation to Erie Coke Corporation in June, including the latest on Friday.
It comes as the company is appealing the DEP's decision to put the company on its compliance docket, which would restrict Erie Coke's ability to renew its operating permit.
The June 4 notice was issued for violations observed in Erie Coke's quarterly compliance reports from Oct. to Dec. 2018 and Jan. to March 2019. The DEP also inspected Erie Coke on May 15 and found 13 violations, including visible fugitive emissions of unburned coke oven gas leaking in two instances.
Another notice was issued on June 5. The DEP inspected Erie Coke two days before and observed visible fugitive emissions from the coke oven gas collector.
On June 10, Erie Coke received another notice from a inspection on June 7. It was cited for three violations, including visible fugitivie emissions of unburned coke oven gas that were leaking. Fugitive emissions also exceeded a specified level during coke pushing. The percent of door leaks were also higher than the level permitted.
Friday's violation notice, issued following a DEP inspection Tuesday, fugitive emissions again exceeded a specified level during coke pushing from an oven.
Erie Coke's counsel filed an appeal Monday of the notice sent in May to put the company on the DEP's compliance docket. It cited the company's lack of compliance on nearly 80 air quality violations.
The counsel said Erie Coke has already rectified and resolved the regulatory violations mentioned, with only minor potential exceptions. The appeal also said the DEP wrongfully alleges Erie Coke does not intend to comply with laws and permits, even though the company has submitted a compliance plan, responded to the departments concerns and made "diligent efforts to rectify alleged violations." The company's counsel also said the DEP has failed to provide any substantive explanation or notice on why its compliance efforts were unsatisfactory.
Several area lawmakers, including Erie County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper, have called on Erie Coke to clean up its act, saying they should be allowed to continue operating only if they follow current laws and regulations.