Don't be confused. The Erie Coke plant does not make soft drinks.  The coke made inside the plant on Erie's waterfront is formed by heating coal inside ovens at extreme temperatures.  The finished product is used in the smelting process that turns iron ore into steel. 

Things can go wrong during the coke making process. Leaks and unlawful emissions have occurred at the Erie Coke plant over the years.  The biggest concern is the release of benzene into the air.  Benzene is a cancer-causing chemical. 

Erie News Now talked with people who have worked inside coke plants, including the Erie Coke facility.  One former worker described his experiences of pushing the hot coke into railroad cars.  "It's like staring into Hell," he said.