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GENEVA AVERTS MASSIVE `AIR SPILL’
QUICK REPAIRS ON COLLAPSED ROOF KEEPS POLLUTION TO MINIMUM

SHARE GENEVA AVERTS MASSIVE `AIR SPILL’
QUICK REPAIRS ON COLLAPSED ROOF KEEPS POLLUTION TO MINIMUM

A section of the refractory roof that collapsed earlier this week in a Geneva Steel open-hearth furnace may have sent excess pollution into the air, but a quick repair kept emissions to a minimum, according to a company spokesman.

"When you have a hole in the roof you have more emissions than you normally would have, but the 1-foot-by-1-foot hole was fixed while the furnace was still up," Michael Call said.The hole was found in the roof of what Call termed the checker chambers, the space above the furnace. "We don't think we will be fined. The problem was resolved and operations are back to normal."

The problem in furnace No. 98 occurred Tuesday, a day after Geneva Steel announced a $70 million cleanup plan, which includes changes in the open-hearth area. The plant will replace its furnaces with the basic oxygen process furnace.

Call said the basic oxygen process furnace, to be installed in the next two years, will make such mishaps virtually impossible.

Jeff Dean, manager of compliance for the state Bureau of Air Quality, said filters in the monitoring stations have not been analyzed, but excessive red iron oxide emissions were observed.

Geneva Steel contacted the bureau when the break occurred.

"From time to time, the refractory in the roof of the open hearth will cave in. Normally (emissions) are exhausted to the main collector duct, which takes it to air pollution control equipment. With the hole, not all was exhausted to pollution control."

Dean said it was fortunate that the furnace was close to the end of the heat. The roof in the No. 98 furnace collapsed at 7:10 a.m. and the steel was poured out at 9 a.m.

"There would have been more emissions if it was at the first of the heat," he said. "There is really not a whole lot you can do on an operation like that. The 350 tons of steel would have solidified in the furnace and ruined it if it had been shut down."