Original Date: 08/26/1996
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Information : Environmental
Weirton Steel Corporation (WSC) has been producing steel since 1909. Since then, many changes in the steelmaking process have occurred that affect the daily operations, as well as the environment. Because of the continued rising costs and increasing environmental restrictions, National Steel elected to opt out of the steelmaking business at WSC and made an offer to sell the Weirton Steel Division to its employees. In 1984, the employees bought the division (establishing Weirton Steel Corporation) and assumed all of the environmental liabilities that had built up during the previous 75 years.
Averaging more than 900 water quality violations per year, it was clear that changes were necessary to stay operational. This meant that procedures would have to change, investments would have to be made, and the old ways of doing business would have to go. Since then, WSC has invested over $75 million on projects directed at water pollution control.
Taking a proactive approach in 1993 to consolidate compliance responsibilities, WSC developed the Environmental Control Consolidated program. This program took all of the stand-alone, pollution control facilities within the plant and transferred them to the Environmental Control Department. This consolidation established a 24-hour-per-day, 365-day-per-year, Environmental Control Operations & Maintenance (O&M) supervisory function that was responsible for all violations. In addition, negotiations are ongoing with the Union to improve the flexibility of the O&M salary non-exempt workforce. Targeted areas for improvement include enhanced training and duties for O&M personnel at all pollution control facilities; mobility for wastewater treatment operators; incorporation of light maintenance work into operator duties; and the formation of a mobile maintenance group dedicated to environmental operations.
Since taking over the ownership of the company in 1984, the employees of WSC have demonstrated a strong proactive commitment to environmental responsibility. WSC has spent $113 million on various environmental projects. This level of spending represents more than 13% of its capital expenditures and exceeds the steel industry’s average of 8%. Incidents of noncompliance have decreased by more than 90% and continue to show a downward trend. In response to ever-changing environmental requirements, WSC is continuously implementing a comprehensive environmental management system for reducing further violations and improving its operations.
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