Essar confirms spill of diluted ammonia liquor (update) Monday, April 07, 2014 by: SooToday.com Staff
Essar Steel Algoma confirms the Ministry of Environment is investigating after employees discovered a leaky valve this morning on a tank containing diluted ammonia liquor byproduct.
Brenda Stenta, a spokesperson for the plant, said the valve has been replaced and efforts are underway to collect groundwater from within a bermed area where the holding tank in question is located.
Stenta said she could not confirm the amount of ammonia liquor spilled.
The chemical is contained in an open tank and can include rainwater and melted snow, she said.
The spill first came to light publicly after Michigan State Police in Lansing received a report from the Ontario Ministry of Environment of a liquid ammonia spill totalling 500,000 gallons at the Sault, Ontario plant.
The report came through a cross-border spill reporting system, and has not been updated since coming in this morning, said state police.
The report says the ammonia was spilling onto the ground and had the potential to affect the St. Mary's River.
Stenta said Ministry of Environment representatives were on site, but officials with the ministry could not immediately provide any information about the spill as of Monday afternoon.
Stenta said the leak was discovered this morning during a daily inspection.
The Sault Ste. Marie Fire Service says it was contacted about a spill at the plant, but was not asked to respond.
(PHOTO: Essar Steel Algoma, seen April 7, 2014, reportedly experienced a chemical spill. SooToday.com/Kenneth Armstrong)
Brietsy 4/7/2014 3:34:13 PM Report
oh. so it banged.
Koolaid 4/7/2014 3:35:16 PM Report
That's ridiculous .. prob some stoner working there screwed up. Probably sleeping on the job like the rest of the employees there.
gowestyoungman 4/7/2014 3:40:23 PM Report
500,000 gallons and telling the Fire Dept. not to respond? That honestly sounds very sketchy. I would honestly be very surprised if ESA had the resources on site to handle a spill of that size....
Brian505 4/7/2014 3:54:20 PM Report
Essar will probably just lie to us about it, just like they did when they had their alleged gear box fire a couple of years ago!
sooperman 4/7/2014 4:06:19 PM Report
I smell a cover up and moe payoff...watched for greased palms
sooperman 4/7/2014 4:09:17 PM Report
I hear management stood on there heads to assist with the prompt clean up
Lone24 4/7/2014 4:13:29 PM Report
Whats next to enter into our waters?
Brietsy 4/7/2014 4:16:24 PM Report
I'd suggest not people for the next little while... 2-3 weeks for this stuff to cycle out, at least.
tommy_boi07 4/7/2014 4:25:01 PM Report
Out of all you self proclaimed experts that are commenting here, how many of you have even been inside the gates of the steel plant or have any knowledge of proper procedure a to clean up chemical spills?
Sam C 4/7/2014 4:28:43 PM Report
I would be surprised if it was 500,000 gallons. I'd even be surprised if it was 500,000 litres.
A typical tank truck-trailer would be 5000-9500 gallons. A half-million litres OR gallons is an awful lot of product.
Brian505 4/7/2014 4:31:08 PM Report
tommy_boi07; i get my spill response training annually, and yes i have been inside the gates of Essar, and yes Essar tells you what they want you to know, which isn't always the truth! Sad to say!!
mr.jack 4/7/2014 4:34:13 PM Report
Hey koolaid loser
so why do you feel you need to say that a worker was asleep like the rest of the guys that work there, who and the hell do you think you are? your a jackass, ,, no a stupid jackass. what you tried to get a job there and they did'nt pick you,, awwwww, to much of a loser thats why, ,, go back to sleep you jackass
iamtc 4/7/2014 4:36:20 PM Report
Lol at this place never any good news it's doomed.
Brietsy 4/7/2014 4:42:58 PM Report
I don't have spill training. I don't work at essar.
I don't think this was on purpose, and I don't think it was really anyone's fault.
It soulds like a tank ruptured. Liquid ammonia has to be kept under pressure, and equipment gets old. I think that it has to be cleaned, quickly, but as to them not calling the fire department, I'm not surprised. Ammonia is non-flammable. cuastic, but not flammable.
superior87 4/7/2014 4:43:20 PM Report
But make sure lots of people complain about those ugly windmills right? ;)
sledman92 4/7/2014 4:52:46 PM Report
Nice one Mr.Jack.. Some people have no idea what they are talking about. No doubt that Essar has it's fair share of doggers but if everyone slept and no one worked Essar would not be there today.
shju 4/7/2014 5:04:19 PM Report
We could always use the ammonia to add it to the water to get back the great tasting water like it was 4 years ago. Not a total loss. Just cleaner water downstream.
shju 4/7/2014 5:18:55 PM Report
The city put more then that in the water a year then that and we all drank it and most of you want to go back to it.
ThinkAgain 4/7/2014 5:19:52 PM Report
itsme29 4/7/2014 5:28:39 PM Report
right on mr jack..that same fool is always rapping off about people sleeping and stealing from essar ... when all he really has to worry about is if I'd like to have fries with my meal!
mikethedeerman 4/7/2014 5:31:31 PM Report
I think your all dreaming just wait till the real story comes out before you start dreaming the worst
cliff76 4/7/2014 5:43:11 PM Report
Mikethedeerman, we ll never Know the real story cause of course it's gonna be down played but even if it was a lesser amount how does that make it OK?
mr.jack 4/7/2014 6:00:09 PM Report
i think that people need to understand that with all the training we have at essar and the years of service, we are still going to make mistakes,, so for people who feel they need to insult the guys that work here have no idea what goes on at essar,
Essar and Tenaris are the back bone of this city, so if you have no idea what goes on at these mills keep quiet
rockbanger 4/7/2014 6:16:01 PM Report
This is not a nuclear waste leak.
This and most companies have methods to mitigate and secure such issues.
When you hear Ms. Stenta discuss such events, even she knows little about what is going on. She is just saying what they tell her to.
This is really not a huge deal.
If you are not familiar with industrial practices...find another blog item to mouth off on.
Essar/ASI workers are well trained and for the most part care about the environment just like you and I. As a retired ASI guy I am speaking from experience.
Sorry to rain on your parade.
Lerard 4/7/2014 6:38:32 PM Report
Ammonia can be bad... but yes, it could be worse.
If a bunch got into the St. Mary's river, it depends on concentration, type and amount.
iamtc 4/7/2014 6:39:35 PM Report
Spills only happen in places that should not be operating. If its caused by old faulty equipment or unsupervised staff it's no excuse this is not a normal circumstance. Anyone can be trained for spills but with todays workplace and safety this should not of happend obviously the out dated equipment cheap maintenance and lack of knowledge dealing with all the above I think this place should close and lock all doors instead of trying to blow all of us up in this city shame on Essar steel and all people in charge if this disaster could of been a lot worse and avoided
Prince Ali 4/7/2014 6:40:37 PM Report
LOL @ mr.jack... everyone who lives in the sault know it has no backbone. Perhaps you should learn some spelling, punctuation, and grammar before calling others stupid. Why don't you go for a nice, leisurely swim in that outdoor storage tank?
Lerard 4/7/2014 6:40:50 PM Report
It also makes sense that the 500,000 gallons is the size of the open tank, but not the total amount that was spilled.
Koolaid 4/7/2014 6:40:54 PM Report
You know it's all true, because you are probably one of those slackers, and you don't want management knowing what goes on there. And itsme you say the same thing every time " you go flip burgers" lol That place is full of overpaid under qualified employees. They all got their job there because their dads worked there ( a stipulation of a Union Contract), or they are of minority.
Riverpilot 4/7/2014 6:43:02 PM Report
Just another incident where people like to rant about something they don't know much about! Unfortuneately, industrial accidents happen. I am very familiar with ammonia and the effects that it has on our environment. Ammonia is produced by just about every living thing on this planet. It is used extensively as a disinfectant, as a food additive and is even used to convert milk to cheese. In the U.S. (primarily)almost all beef products that supply major restaurant chains (ie. McDonalds, Burger King, etc..) serve "ammoniated beef" in an effort to control E.coli and colliform bacteria. Ammonia is commomly used as a disinfectant in municipal drinking water systems. Raw sewage for instance consists of approximately 30 ppm ammonia. Many communities discharges tonnes of raw sewage to waterways when there treatment plants are overwhelmed with rain water. We're not talking about cyanide, arsenic or petroleum based products. Ammonia toxicity will eventually(over a short span)take care of itself.
As for the quantity of 500,000 gallons, I cannot comment, however, the spilled substance contained a diluted form of ammonia and I'd be more concerned with some of the other chemicals that may be present. As for the effects to the water ecosystem, basically the product acts like a fertilizer which contributes to eutrophication of lakes and rivers (contributing to the growth of algae)which in turn consumes disolved oxygen in the waters......which then becomes a concern for fish and other habitat (leading to suffocation in extreme cases). When ammonia hits agitated waters (rapids and falls), it readily breaks down and becomes less toxic.
Any chemical spill is a major concern, however, I think it is important that people understand there are many more "far worse" compounds to be concerned with! Regardless, it's an unfortuneate occurence, let's not get off topic and bash the men and women at ESSAR or the regulating agencies such as the Ministry of Environment! They are people who all dread a situation like this.....lets just make the best of it and determine how to prevent such an incident from occurring again!
cliff76 4/7/2014 6:44:31 PM Report
Rockbanger? I applaud u for defending your past employer but call a spade a spade. Your obviously not an outdoor enthusiast that enjoys fishing either that or you don't care about our enviroent. I would be interested to know your thoughts on the pollution you and everyone else see s coming across the bridge or coming down St George's hill. Please don't tell me it's steam or acceptable pollution. You do realize that is preventable right? Might take some money to fix that problem but it can be fixed. Ie proper filtration would be a start. In my opinion it's like the saying goes "the squeaky wheel gets the grease". And by that I mean if know body says anything or complains these sorts of things won't get fixed. I think residents of Algoma are so used to our air quality they think it's "Normal".
Sam C 4/7/2014 6:47:25 PM Report
iamtc.. what? Spills can happen anywhere, and especially with "live" equipment. The wrong valve is opened, a tank overflows when being filled, a pipe breaks, or -- as was the case here -- a valve leaks. It happens.
Liquid ammonia (which does not have t be kept under pressure) is most harmful to anyone near enough to be splashed, or breath the fumes.
Anhydrous ammonia (gas, with NO water) is far worse, and creates a cloud that you want to avoid at all costs.
Again, I doubt the spill was 500,000 gallons.
As this tank was within a bermed area, the spill will likely not reach the river, nor have any serious environmental impact.
mr.jack 4/7/2014 6:51:12 PM Report
wow between queen ali and koolaid loser the soo is set. both guys have nothing good to say. dead end jobs, and no values. yet they need to mouth off about something that they have no idea. .. i'm to tired with you to queens, call yourself clowns
Koolaid 4/7/2014 6:55:37 PM Report
Typical thoughts from some redneck who works at Essar Steel. Calls people A queen, your probably racist as well ?
cliff76 4/7/2014 7:00:12 PM Report
I Agree it's not anywhere near as bad as it sounds. As for being somewhat contained I disagree. For the most part we don't know all the facts. What I do know is that if a Gas station has a leaky tank and seeps into the soil that gas station would be responsible for replacing the tanks along with all the soil and the ministry would be all over them. Yes I realize this case is a little diff but unless it was in a pond/cement casing it will still leach into the soil. I'm sure all parties involved will take every corrective matter to the fullest to prevent this from happening in the future. Wishful thinking maybe? I'm curious to know how long this has been happening for?
MoSteel 4/7/2014 7:10:51 PM Report
Lopsided, you kill me! Always so negative. I bet you there are more educated people that work in essar, than there are wherever you work! Get a life!
lp670-4 Super Veloce 4/7/2014 7:13:31 PM Report
Maybe if it took more than a 6th grade education to work there this wouldn't have happened. morons risking other peoples lives. shame.
mikethedeerman 4/7/2014 7:14:25 PM Report
cliff its not like some one opened a tap it was a leaky valve all mec. itams break down in time sure they should check these things but how do you tell when a valve is going to break
mr.jack 4/7/2014 7:15:28 PM Report
can i get the number 2 please and a 7-up, hold the onions please
your such a fool dude and don't let anyone tell you different.
and to all you people who work in fast food this is no disrespect to you, its clowns like koolaid donkey's who feel the need to respond to stories and have no idea what there saying koolaid kid is now the jackass kid lol
MoSteel 4/7/2014 7:22:52 PM Report
Kool aid, can you please show me where in the contract it says you have to have family that works there to get a job? Without an education or a trade, it is almost impossible to even get an interview! To all you haters out there, any one who works at essar knows it's a possibility that doors could be shut down, at any given time. But my question to you is why wcould you want it to? Do you hate sault ste. Marie that much that you want to see the city turn into a retirement town? It's disturbing the hatred spewed towards other hard working people! Man I feel so sad for so many of you!
lp670-4 Super Veloce 4/7/2014 7:26:43 PM Report
Hard working, id love to see someone working hard there. more like hardly working. doesnt anybody realise this is serius bidness. the impact to wildlife will be massive. id lay off drinking any water for a long time. maybe even leave town for a while
MoSteel 4/7/2014 7:31:01 PM Report
Ipo 67, hardly working! Haha that's funny. Are there people that dog it and don't do their jobs? Of course there is, as in any place of employment! But to throw every employee under the same umbrella, is just near sighted and small minded.
right wing 4/7/2014 7:37:37 PM Report
"maybe even leave town for a while"
Yes great advice, I'll pay for your one way bus ticket and I'm sure I can get another dozen tickets for some others on here...
right wing 4/7/2014 7:42:20 PM Report
It is obvious, by the content of their posts, those that would never have a chance of getting hired at Essar.
If they awoke before noon to apply.
Work clothes for some of this bunch are flip flops, spandex for her and track pants for him and a bus pass to Walmart.....
MoSteel 4/7/2014 7:59:42 PM Report
Right wing, it just gets frustrating sometimes reading these posts. Yea I am obviously an essar worker, and I'm damn proud of it. I quit my pretty good job went back to school to work for this company. Do I agree with all the business practices, I guess not but am I a business man? No sir I am not! Do I get paid every two weeks? Yes I do! Would I get paid of I came to work and did nothing? For a few months then I would be fired! The work force went from 10,000 down to about 3,000. Which Common sense would tell most people that the employees now have to work, to get paid! I for one am happy that essar India owns the company. They have kept everybody employed throughout these tough times. As for them not paying their bills! I'm not in the board room so I don't really know! What I do know is I just had a conversation with a small business in town that has a contract with essar and yes they have to keep on them to get their money, but in the end they always do! Way to many people chirping, that don't have a clue!
Koolaid 4/7/2014 8:10:21 PM Report
LOL... I just love getting a rise out of you hot headed Essar employees.. So much fun. But I did notice one thing.. whenever somebody slams you guys.. you go off the handle and say their just jealous and they work fast food. So you must know the huge gap between your wage and the rest of Sault ste. marie's workforce. This is why you guys get slammed, because you rub it in everyone's faces just because you lucked out and landed a job at Essar. And if the Essar closed it's doors the city would move on with it.
wandering 4/7/2014 8:12:05 PM Report
like we do need this...our water is already no good to drink....so many stuff is happening there since those new owner took over...what they care...in their country they can do everything they want...even if their water is not good they still drink it...and so many explosion and big bang sound since they are there..orange smoke coming out of there..if we will be doing this at our own place they will trow us in jail...but because they have money..do you think they are allowed to polluted our water...making all that pollution..way to go Essar maybe you should bring your business to your own country
MoSteel 4/7/2014 8:14:00 PM Report
Kool aid lol I'm not angry. I actually think it is sad that you feel as strongly as you do towards wanting essar to close it's door. I feel so bad for you!
wandering 4/7/2014 8:18:44 PM Report
right wing it is obvious you work there
for myself i really don't care about Essar..been retired for many years
I do know many good worker who was there early in the morning day after day trying to find work..and it never happen
so bashing those one who have no job there is bad
think before you talk not everyone wake up at noon
to much of peoples like you have their nose in the air because they are working there
maybe your nose will go down when they go back in their own country with all your money they stole from all of you here
and believe me it will happen sooner than you think
and maybe you will be sleeping until noon because you will not have any job
right wing 4/7/2014 8:22:33 PM Report
"Way to many people chirping, that don't have a clue!"
....nail on the head.
Also pay no mind to no-minds like Koolaid they don't care about the well being of Essar...welfare is transferable.
He believes that you "lucked out" to get your job.
That pretty much sums up his life's aspirations...his mother fed him to much Lucky Charms as a kid and all that sugar rots the brain.
right wing 4/7/2014 8:25:32 PM Report
Really...it's obvious to you.
I never worked a day in my life at Algoma Steel or Essar.
I have been through the place from "front to back" and have a solid respect for the work force and the owners that keep it operating.
lp670-4 Super Veloce 4/7/2014 8:31:50 PM Report
I would never work at essar, way too overqualified. just a bunch of redneck hicks that couldn't do anything else. As far as track pants, bus tickets to walmart and waking up before noon. i wake up at 1130 every day and a bus pass is a great way to save money, i dont have to pay a ton of money on insurance or gas.
Norm 4/7/2014 8:33:01 PM Report
I worked there for nearly 31 years. Some people get a little shut eye on the night shift, some don't. When pouring heats the workers are wide awake, even at two in the morning, they have to be. There has been some tragedy over the years, it's far from been all about sleeping. How much ammonia has been spilled, we may never know. The mill tends to keep the public out of its affairs, as least somewhat.
wandering 4/7/2014 8:51:03 PM Report
Norm we will never know
Hope the State Police let us know
Was a good place to work before they took over
shju 4/7/2014 9:36:35 PM Report
More ammonia was dumped into city water per year to make it taste great as so many here claim then was dumped earlier today.
Prince Ali 4/7/2014 10:22:51 PM Report
Please contract pulmonary fibrosis ASAP. I'm almost certain anyone working in fast food has had a better education than you. Simply because one of your inbred relatives handed you your employment on a silver platter does not translate to you being above anyone else. On the contrary; if you really wanted to better Sault Ste. Marie you would get yourself involved in a fatal workplace accident or end your miserable life by some other means. A few less people like you would do wonders for the community.
P.S. Ever see the movie "Aladdin"? Or were you also deprived as a child and raised on sour milk?
Frio 4/7/2014 11:56:46 PM Report
The city water intake is out in Gros Cap, a long ways upstream from the steel plant. It would be nice if some of the haters left town for good,while they're waiting for the water to clear because they are clueless about what they are bitching about.
Right of Centre 4/8/2014 12:38:52 AM Report
Haters don't leave town because Welfare no longer hands out bus tickets.
Or because they can't stop providing us with their insightful comments long enough to get out of their pyjama pants, get dressed, and walk out the door.
Tough life, that entitlement crowd, eh?
sitka_archie 4/8/2014 1:10:45 AM Report
If we just never let yuppies from the wrong end of Ontario come up here, I'd bet the comments would be cut in half. The truth of the matter of the black dust, the ammonia spill, the noise, thesmell, and all the other things people b**** about, is if the MOE or MOL ever went in and did s*** "by the book" like everyone parrots they should. Is ASI (Yes its still ASI to me) would chain the gates up, shutter down and move the operation overseas where they would continue doing what they're doing, or worse due to that particular countries stance on industrial handouts. But that doesn't matter to you people does it? As long as its not on your back yard eh?
Powerwise 4/8/2014 1:11:10 AM Report
You all go on about stoners working at the plant, but the fact of the matter is that they're mostly crackheads.
itsme29 4/8/2014 6:01:34 AM Report
powerwise maybe your the crackhead? I u knew what u were talking about u would know that avg of the workforce in there is prbly in there 50's.. well there are crackheads everywhere thesedays, most of essars workforce is older and past that stage.
iamtc 4/8/2014 6:35:16 AM Report
Shut the place down all ready.
mr.jack 4/8/2014 7:29:51 AM Report
lol i think queen ali is upset. Are you ok queen? well just to let you know i worked my ass off to get where i am today, can you say the same? your nothing and don't ever forget that, ,thats why your so upset, your full of anger and you need to blame other people because your just a loser, , this news was about a spill at essar and you had to put your jackass response on here ,,,, pylon
B Boy 4/8/2014 8:18:06 AM Report
"If we just never let yuppies from the wrong end of Ontario come up here, I'd bet the comments would be cut in half"
I think you're entirely off-base with your comment.
kbe 4/8/2014 8:41:48 AM Report
Everyone is so busy bashing eachother, that only intelligent comment (from Riverpilot) has gone unnoticed.
saldog 4/8/2014 10:55:03 AM Report
I really wish Sootoday could remove all the comments that contain no facts or insult people specifically. My family works at Essar, they are neither uneducated nor are they redneck hillbillies. They can also make comments that are gramatically correct and know the difference between they're, there, and their as well as to, two and too and your, you're and you. Yous is not a word. There is no reason in this day and age for the racist remarks either. Telling someone to go back to their country is backwards and closed minded. Essar closing would be tragic in this community. My young family would have to move from a city that we chose to move back to in order to raise our young children. We chose to move back here because the Sault is a great community with wonderful family values. I hope that the factual posts don't get overseen through the muddle of disgusting babble and I would love to see the moderator simply remove the latter.
Prince Ali 4/8/2014 11:00:48 AM Report
Hahaha MR.JACK! Who is angry? Sounds like you - the illiterate who posts:
"your nothing and don't ever forget that, ,thats why your so upset, your full of anger and you need to blame other people because your just a loser, , this news was about a spill at essar and you had to put your jackass response on here"
^ Full of spelling and grammar mistakes once more, obviously you didn't work hard enough to get where you are today or you might have reading/writing comprehension above that of a grade school child. It is in fact you who is the biggest "jackass" in this entire comment section.
In your first comment alone, not only did you target an individual, but you used the words "loser" twice, and "jackass" three times, in a total of not fifty words.
If you'd like to rectify the mistake your mother made when she decided to keep the baby, you have my full support and thanks.
You'll most likely act on that when Essar closes down in the near future due to the economy alone, and you will consider yourself lucky to even be granted an interview at a fast food chain with your fifth grade education (fifth grade is generous, I know).
Jmann! 4/8/2014 12:32:40 PM Report
Ahhh the uneducated are awake!
Prince Ali 4/8/2014 1:30:50 PM Report
^ The uneducated were awake at 7:29:51 AM, apparently.
Blondie11 4/8/2014 5:34:37 PM Report
It's a pretty sad day when citizens of a community could be so ignorant and unsupportive of a company that helped to make this city a proud one to live in! The employees at Essar risk their lives on a daily basis and by that token they most definitely earn their pay. Not all workers have been lucky enough to enjoy retirement with their families as working in that environment created many health issues and even death. These employees should be praised for the work they do, not put down and ridiculed. The retirees gave up so much just to keep the plant going. Unfortunately accidents happen ... in all workplaces. Let's try to remember that we ALL live in this city and should be supportive of each other, not vindictive and hateful!
wandering 4/8/2014 10:45:08 PM Report
Blondie you are right about that one because this place is not safe old
and with those new owner nothing will be done it is the way they run their country everything is falling apart they running until the end and let it go and buy something else
saldog a nice communities ???
full of drug..no decent job....prostitution....break and enter..some wannabee gangster...what a nice City we live in
schlub 4/10/2014 5:06:52 PM Report
I agree that Essar Steel employees many people. But we must realise that those people are the ones that are polluting our air and water and stinking up our city. Is that something to be proud of? I worked at Algoma for six yesrs from 1978-1984 and hated working there. Filthy, polluted, and lazy workers everywhere. Yes, there is only one quarter the number of employees now, and yes, I suppose they do work a bit harder, but so what. They still pollute my air, and my water, and I can't open my windows on hot days because of the filthy smoke coming from Essar, and the stink makes me puke. Why is this not important to the people who own and operate the company? Can they not try to filter the dust and smoke and pollution so that it is not as bad as it is? And why is the black coal smoke getting worse and worse all the time and nothing is being done about it? Does nobody want to see what is really going on with how bad the air quality is getting in our city? It is worse than Toronto's air, a city with ten million people living in that region. That is a frightening thought, don't you think? So this ammonia spill that everybody is yapping about is nothing really. I saw a vehicle bellowing thick black oily smoke for four hours a few weeks ago that made my jaw drop. What kind of person would drive such a machine that polluted the environment so badly? Unbelievable. With people doing such things, and the air pollution getting worse all the time, what is the point of complaining about anything? Nobody seems to give a damn. Truly a sad statement about people and mankind.
wandering 4/13/2014 2:02:24 AM Report
not good for sure but the owner don't care in their country everything is pollute