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Can anyone explain this orange smoke? (photo)

Wednesday, February 27, 2013   by: Staff

"Saw this while crossing the bridge into the States today at 1:20 p.m.," loyal reader Angie Silk wrote in an e-mail to news yesterday. "Wondering if anyone knew what it is, because it looks disgusting."

Why yes, Angie, someone does indeed know.

We posed the question to Essar Steel Algoma Manager of Corporate Communications, Brenda Stenta, to get to the bottom of the orange stuff.
"We experienced an equipment failure in our steelmaking emissions control baghouse which resulted in the emission of iron oxide particulate (the orange plume)," Stenta told us. "The equipment has since been repaired and steps are being taken to prevent a recurrence."

Note: Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of If you see an abusive post, please click the link beside the post to report it.
Snowdon 2/27/2013 5:23:46 PM Report

"Can anyone explain this orange smoke?"

Why is that the title if there is an explanation already given?
funkywalker 2/27/2013 5:24:33 PM Report

Burnt up the baghouse, someone has a dirty job fixing that.
old-cat33 2/27/2013 5:40:13 PM Report

Spill at the BOSP.
Gates 2/27/2013 5:57:09 PM Report

Looks like lung cancer or asthma to me.
danno2257 2/27/2013 5:57:47 PM Report

Smoking a few joints!
I'm In 2/27/2013 6:08:42 PM Report

Its iron oxide and yes it is pollution, cuases disease amongst steelworkers. but when your big business the Ministry of the Environment looks the other way. This iron oxide is usually released at night so no one will see it.
holeinwall 2/27/2013 6:10:20 PM Report

My Father who was Chief Yard Master at
the Plant would come home in the 50's with that Red Dust all over his car. He would wash it as it sticks and gets enbedded into the paint and will not come off. He called it FLU DUST and stated it was a part of the Steel Making Process. This is not something new.
Ken Marshall
I'm In 2/27/2013 6:13:02 PM Report

oops: causes, I should proof read before posting, how ESSAR's PR people say they are going to avoid a reocurrance, thats why they release it at night I know I used to work there.
doubletlc 2/27/2013 6:18:28 PM Report

ya never seen the orange cloud from the steel plant ya must be a new born at least once every two months for the last 40 years of my life
chickyb 2/27/2013 6:31:58 PM Report

Another Fancy word for Rust.. Get a life and take a picture of something worth taking. If that place wasnt here, none of us would be in this City.
L Squared 2/27/2013 6:35:56 PM Report

When I worked at a Westend School, it happened quite a bit. You could really see it from the top of Goulais Avenue just north of Korah Road.
Norm 2/27/2013 6:52:32 PM Report

Chick, a lot of people aren't here because of it!!!!!
BettyW 2/27/2013 6:55:17 PM Report

They must have experienced it two days in a row. My daughters and I were out yesterday and coming home around noon t5here was a pale orange cloud hanging over the area where we live.
Bayview at Bonney street. Which is the last street off Goulais before the Steel plant parking lot. I mentioned it to someone else ans rhey said it had been much darker when they came to work in the morning. That was Tuesday the 26th, this is Webnesday the 27th.
Almost everyday before the snow came; when I would out, I would have a brownish coloured dust on my windshield and have to use the window washer.
MyCrazyCrew 2/27/2013 7:10:16 PM Report

I grew up in Bay View and this is not something that only happens occasionally. Like others said they usually let it out at night so no one sees it.
shju 2/27/2013 7:38:29 PM Report

Essar doesn't "let" it out normally at night time. Anyone in the west end has a greater chance at getting lung cancer from the asbestos in your house. The entire west end was built pre 1960 and I guarentee every 9"x9" floor tile has asbestos and every duct that touches wood in your house has asbestos paper wrapped around it. Big business causes pollution. Ya it sucks but its a fact of life. Without big business the country fails to exist.
tess123 2/27/2013 8:05:57 PM Report

Skuggs 2/27/2013 8:38:05 PM Report

mmmm breathe in that cancer saultites...
_kate_ 2/27/2013 8:52:25 PM Report

chickyb, why do you have to be so negative? If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say it at all. Ms. Silk obviously didn't know what was causing the smoke and was concerned, so she asked a question. It's how people learn. It's also of interest to others, which is why SooToday posted it. Thanks to Angie and her picture, I learned something new today!
Sam C 2/27/2013 8:55:03 PM Report

Folks... if you're complaining and/or upset about the occasional cloud of whatever from the Steel Plant, you either have forgotten what it was like decades ago, or are too young to have experienced the near-constant cloud that enveloped the plant.

In other words... if you think its bad now, you should've seen it 30 or 40 years ago or more.
newmanjennifer 2/27/2013 9:26:52 PM Report

Is there a new pope?
RLE 2/27/2013 9:33:46 PM Report

Do you wan't money and jobs or air that's fit to breath?
Ricatoni 2/27/2013 9:35:07 PM Report

so were is the Ministry of enviroment???? This is clearly cancer causing agents being released into the air we breath....ops it was an accident thats their answer??? how about you pay a 250,000 dollar fine and dont do that again or it will be 500,000 next time...The citizens of this city cant even have a bonfire in their yards without having some square headed politician telling them they are polluting the air....... but these people can just pollute the air without any recourse.....
This is the conservative way of doing business in Canada...F&^% the enviroment we need more money!!! money!!! money!!!! Have any of you ever heard the song..................... killing yourself to live???
pjk139 2/27/2013 10:03:57 PM Report

I grew up on Queen w. #2 Gate the very last house on the left... As Kids 15-25 years ago it was common to see this orange smoke almost daily from what I remember.. still when travelling down St. Georges to my house on Cathcart St. the thing I notice is if its cloudy out the push out more smoke and early mornings... and more lately that I have noticed. and doesnt most of the clouds of smoke that comes from the steel plant go to Michigan???
syndi 2/27/2013 10:28:10 PM Report

Most definitely is something fishy that goes on there. In 2008/2009 there were benzene and benzoate particulates that they released that far exceeded the "safe" sizes for our personal breathing. In 2008 I had a neighbour two doors down the road from me diagnosed with A.M.L...Jack is still fighting the battle.A young boy from my childrens school and just one block away from us is now in remission too.We had a very dear friend die from A.M.L in August of 2009. Docs say "Nah......" Just a coincidence that I would think that because now I was made more aware of it because I had it as well" Really??? I am proof of that as I ended up with A.M.L (Leukemia)in November of 2009 as well as another woman diagnosed on the same day as I and three other people that I learned of from Sault Ste. Marie upon my nearly six months stay at Ottawa General Hospital. And now two more people that I know have family that have been diagnosed with it too here in the city. doctors will say and the representatives for Essar, "One can not pinpoint where the leukemia came from". The irony in all of this is that Sault Ste Marie and Chalk River where they make the isotopes to cure cancer/ put it into remission actually from what I was told and have read in articles have the highest rate of cancers...leukemias and lung being the top of the list. Don't let anyone fool you that they don't let things out into our air that they should not. I am still in remission today but I have met some that are not so lucky as I.
Victor Driver 2/27/2013 10:34:37 PM Report

Smells like farts...tastes like metal!
cliff76 2/27/2013 11:04:52 PM Report

Anyone that takes this and says "atleast we have jobs" or "it was alot worse back in the day" should think before they speak. Regardless if it was worse back in the day it should not happen on a regular basis. This problem is curable and can be rectified. Problem is it costs money. Instead of handing out thousands and millions to different organizations, Essar should be re investing it on upgrades to equipment. I think by Sootoday and different media making these situations more public it will put more pressure on company's such as Essar to upgrade such equipment. I agree that the Ministry should put more pressure on such things instead of prolonging a situation that should be addressed immediatly. Good Work Sootoday. Putting the pressure on the Company would cause them to improve air quality to Employee's and also the the rest of the people that consume the air. Not only that but improved equipment and repairs to broken or equipment that isn't working 100% would also mean they would need more people and create more jobs. Just thinking about the future!
katiegen 2/27/2013 11:18:02 PM Report

As a child I lived "IN" the Steel Plant. Dad moved our house in 1947, to Buckley. My husband worked in the transportation department for 39 & 1/2 years and died from lung cancer but WSIB claims he couldn't have contacted lung cancer from all the emissions and asbestos in Algoma Steel. He died in 2007 and I'm still fighting with the help of 2251 Union to receive some compensation for losing my husband. They sit in their Ivory Towers down there in Toronto and have no idea what people have to put up with here. Oh by the way I now have two sisters with cancer, but it just couldn't have come from Algoma Steel (tongue in cheek)
KPNM 2/28/2013 2:53:07 AM Report

As much as i agree that the smoke and pollution will always come from the plant, i disagree that it's "F@#$ the environment" we need the steel more than we need the money. Look at everything you own 95% of it has some sort of steel, the money is just there. And for whatever reason you still believe it's for the money we need that too... everyone needs money to live and get by and as one person mentioned the plant has come along way from before.. gotta think back in the day no one really had a care in the world about the environment, back then they were focused of ending the war..
3rd times a charm 2/28/2013 7:06:15 AM Report

we wouldn't have the highest rate of cancers and 'women's' problems at all if not for the steel plant...shut the thing down and grow hemp..

there isn't anything, including cars, that can't be made from's renewable, doesn't pollute, creates jobs and cleans the air...

there is no need to continue raping and poisoning the Earth in the name of money--I want my grandchildren to be able to breathe fresh air outside, not from a can; fresh water to drink and flora and fauna they can grow...

AND, most homes in the Bayview area have been rebuilt/fixed and most of the asbestos is gone...

between the steel plant and the spraying of Agent Orange under the hydro lines in the 70's, we have discovered many illnesses and cancers and skin diseases within our family...all for the sake a someone making a buck--I hope they choke on it!
Wisenheimer 2/28/2013 7:46:50 AM Report

Explanation ... The Soo has an integrated steel mill. The process melts iron ore and then adds stuff to make steel. Melting iron ore makes orange smoke, has since 1901. You're welcome.
MR40 2/28/2013 8:05:58 AM Report

read the post of im in- there right 100 percent!
SimsDrum 2/28/2013 8:11:38 AM Report

Doesn't that mean we have a new Pope?
Shakey 2/28/2013 8:41:14 AM Report

We don't have a new Pope but you might.
ThinkAgain 2/28/2013 10:22:32 AM Report

I have seen that many times living near Korah Rd. I just think its common to see
good4now 2/28/2013 11:09:17 AM Report

What you don't see is worse.
Until the city water intake was moved to Lk Superior, circa 1980, our water was taken DOWNSTREAM from Algoma Steel and some of its discharge.
Iron oxide (& other metals to be sure) are highly visible, but give me a dose of iron everyday instead of SBD benzene.

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thomas 2/28/2013 5:51:15 PM Report

That cloud is disgusting yes, but I believe that cancer and lung disease is just something we have to accept/put up with, if you live in a steel town. Those are the facts and until they can ever stop all the emissions, cancer will continue to kill our citizens.
terbum2 2/28/2013 7:37:07 PM Report

In my opinion there was nothing broke I worked in the B.O.S.P. and what happens is after a pour of steel they clean out the ladles and this has been going on for years nothing new nothing broke don't know why essar would say different.
Joe B 3/1/2013 8:38:19 AM Report

I wonder if they reported this emission to the MOL?
koondogger2000 3/1/2013 10:44:10 AM Report

company's don't give a s--t about anybody. it's $$$$ and anyone who says anything dosen't have a job no more. The investors want a huge return at your expense.
westofthesoo 3/1/2013 2:21:40 PM Report

what other chemicals are delivered during the night shift? What chemicals past through town in the evening? All I know is its a must!!! and a good time to do this . Less chance of accidents!!
westofthesoo 3/1/2013 2:25:16 PM Report

One more thought!! the soo could shut down the steel mill if the population is that concerned!!!!!!!!!
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