Steel projects helping boost region's environmental profile

2012-12-06T17:00:00Z 2012-12-06T17:42:12Z Steel projects helping boost region's environmental profileBowdeya Tweh bowdeya.tweh@nwi.com, (219) 933-3316 nwitimes.com
December 06, 2012 5:00 pm  • 

HAMMOND | Kevin Doyle said he began having discussions within ArcelorMittal seven years ago about steps that could be taken to have no process wastewater discharges from facilities into the Indiana Harbor and Ship Canal or Lake Michigan.

Doyle, manager of environmental affairs for ArcelorMittal Indiana Harbor, said the No 3. steel producing shop on the west side of Indiana Harbor reached the goal where water used in the steelmaking processes is collected and treated for harmful pollutants below detection limits prior to being discharged.

It may be a long time to reach the goal around the company's U.S. operations, but Doyle said Thursday the project is one example of many showing ArcelorMittal's interest in implementing sustainable practices that benefit the environment and his personal commitment to doing the same as a Gary native and region resident.

"I'm very proud of that," Doyle said. "That is something that has impacted the environment and it absolutely, positively made this place better without a doubt."

Doyle's visit was part of an ongoing lecture series that the Purdue University Calumet Water Institute has been hosting. He spoke to about a dozen people in a university classroom Thursday.

ArcelorMittal's environmental goals include reducing carbon intensity, energy consumption, water usage and air emissions in steel production.

Although steel mills use millions of gallons of water a day to quench hot metal and cool critical equipment parts, Doyle said Indiana Harbor East recycles about 96 percent of intake water and Indiana Harbor West recycles about 82 percent of intake water.

Doyle said steps that ArcelorMittal and other companies have taken in Northwest Indiana have led to dramatic improvements in water quality compared to a few decades ago for area residents.

Doyle said critical environmental protects expand beyond water. He said a recovery boiler and steam turbine are now "going through the final warmups" before coming online soon on the east side of Indiana Harbor.

Announced three years ago, the company's project to install technology near the No. 7 blast furnace will generate enough electricity to power 30,000 homes a year and reduce nitrogen oxide and carbon monoxide emissions. Doyle said the annual energy savings from the effort could be worth $20 million a year.

Doyle said environmental rules often dictate the types of projects the company pursues and when, which can be a challenging process to navigate.

"We're looking out at regulations and rules that's going to impact our company five years from now," Doyle said. "It's very expensive, there's no doubt about it. That's the reality of the world."

As environmental manager, Doyle said an important part of his job is working with others inside the organization to understand the regulatory framework the company is Many projects may be beneficial for the environment, Doyle said it's important for the company to

"We're looking out at regulations and rules that's going to impact our company five years from now," Doyle said. "... It's very expensive, there's no doubt about it. That's the reality of the world."

With ArcelorMittal having operations in more than 60 countries, Doyle said there are opportunities to engage in organizational learning and share best practices with environmental managers at facilities in the United States and around the world.

Doyle said environmental and corporate responsibility initiatives also extend to ArcelorMittal's procurement of goods and working with its supply chain. During the presentation he also described the company's support of community initiatives through grants such as "Sustain Our Great Lakes" and efforts such as the construction of employee walking trails at its Burns Harbor complex.

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