Algoma Steel produces, uses, and transports chemicals that can be hazardous to the environment and human health if released to the environment in the event of an emergency situation. The regulated chemicals are usually stored as a liquid in tanks or transported in marine vessels, tanker trucks, and rail tank cars and can generally be described as aquatically toxic, combustible, explosive, flammable, inhalation hazards, or oxidizers.
Algoma maintains Environmental Emergency Plans for each of the regulated substances onsite, which are designed to guide employees and emergency response personnel in their response and recovery of the emergency situation to prevent, eliminate or mitigate any adverse effects that may result from a release to the environment. These Environmental Emergency Plans, as well as a Corporate Emergency Response Communication Protocol, will be used to notify impacted parties as soon as possible should an emergency situation occur. Impacted parties may include:
- Ministry of Environment, Conservations and Parks;
- Environment and Climate Change Canada;
- Algoma Public Health;
- City Fire/Police;
- Chippewa County Health Authority; and
While it is unlikely for the public to come into contact with any of Algoma’s regulated substances directly, the release of a regulated substance, a fire, or an explosion may produce fumes that could be carried in the prevailing wind direction creating a potential for effects on the environment and/or on human health outside the boundary of the facility. Depending on the type and severity of the emergency, potential effects may include dizziness, drowsiness, headache, fatigue, confusion, and unconsciousness or irritation to the skin, mucous membranes, eyes, and the upper respiratory tract . Select regulated substances may pose an additional risk to aquatic species.
In the event of an environmental emergency, Algoma Steel would implement the applicable Environmental Emergency Plan. Each plan includes measures that would be taken to protect the environment and/or human health. Depending on the type and severity of the emergency, these measures may include: eliminating all sources of ignition; containing and recovering the spilled material; conducting air, soil, and water monitoring; and initiating evacuation plans.
If an emergency situation has the potential to affect the community, the public may be notified through:
- Public Service Announcements;
- News and information on local radio stations, television stations, and news websites;
- Door to door direct warning or notification by First Responders;
- Postings on Algoma’s website, www.algoma.com;
- Tweets @AlgomaSteelInc.
If the emergency situation involves a chemical release, fire, explosion, or other emergency conditions, the public is advised to stay away from the site and follow the directions provided by emergency services personnel who are coordinating the situation.