What Goes Up, Must Come Down ~ Into Our Water

 Meeting 05/17/2011– Many local homeowners spoke out at the meeting because of their concern with the smoke (sometimes blue, sometimes yellow) that comes from Superior Aluminum.  Their concerns for their health and their families well-being were many, but Denny Luma (President of Superior Aluminum) says, “I can’t tell you what the yellow smoke is,” giving little comfort to attendees.

Testimonials heard that night were heartbreaking.

“Our entire area has a tremendously high rate of cancer…everyone on my block suffers from several types of cancer.”

“These are our homes, please understand our concerns.  You come to work everyday for a few hours, but get to go home to clean air in your neighborhood.  We cannot escape it.”

“If smoke is not meant to escape, why is it when I call the Hotline number the smoke stops coming out immediately?  If it is that easy to make it stop than why is it smoking to begin with?”

The community has already suffered from previous problems in their neighborhoods from Superior Aluminum.  In April 2010, 10 families evacuated their homes due to a chlorine spill.  Article located here: “Chlorine escaped the building and 10 families had to leave their homes.”In order to offer comfort, Denny Luma explained, the new chlorine system that cost $1million dollars is the best chlorine system in the business.   It automatically shuts down if chlorine is detected.    Chlorine removes oxide from aluminum, like magnesium and hydrogen oxide.


Luma answered or redirected questions about the pollution, trying to ease worries.  He explained that the 4 baghouses worked like a cup over a cigarette, “After the cup fills up, the smoke eventually seeps out the sides.”  He attempted to comfort the community by explaining that 3 out of 4 baghouses have been replaced.  They have also installed 2 out of 4 hoods over the furnaces to further aid in pollution control.

The baghouses are labeled E, F, L, N.  Each stack has a filter which treats different types of pollutants.  All pollutants being released from these stacks are documented, measured and regulated.  Emissions NOT coming out of the baghouses are considered fugitive dust emissions.

According to the author of IDEM’s TSD Part 70 Operating Permit, Teresa Freeman, the definition of a fugitive dust emission is “anything that does not pass through the stack of a furnace.”  According to Devon Fry, Maintenance Manager of Superior Aluminum, the emissions that the community is seeing, smelling and tasting are NOT coming from a stack.  According to the EPA ruling on fugitive dust emissions, they are only allowed to a certain point. The community wants to know how much is acceptable. The community is also concerned about the frequency of fugitive dust escaping and how much of it is legally allowed.  No one has an idea of what is coming from the stacks or what is escaping from the building and their affects on health.   Does SDI have monitoring equipment? How much is escaping and where are the reports if it is being documented? Who will then be held accountable if the fugitive dust, after being monitored, is found to be beyond that which their permit allows? This is what we do know:

The EPA classifies particulate matter (PM) as one of six principal air pollutants, including carbon monoxide, lead, nitrogen dioxide, ozone and sulfur dioxide. – University of Missouri Extension   A national breakdown of fugitive dust and where it comes from is located here.

Superior Aluminum’s Air Permit # T003-23683-00286
*first 3 numbers represent the County
*next 5 numbers represent permit number
*last 5 numbers represent company I.D.

(pg. 9/subsection b for fugitive dust)

Within the permits, we found a list of insignificant activities which included: gas used to power vehicles, dust kicked up by trucks, heating exchanged, and paved & unpaved roads etc.  However, we were unable to locate a list of what a fugitive dust emission is considered in regards to this specific manufacturing plant. The community is concerned about the emissions legality and the direct effects to personal health. Our goal is to have IDEM install air monitoring devices around neighboring properties that have had complaints due to smoke from Superior Aluminum to ensure compliance with all state and federal law permits regarding the Clean Air Act as well as Indiana’s individual state laws.

About Steel Dynamics:

Steel Dynamics Inc. (SDI)/Superior Aluminum Alloys located on Edgerton Rd. maintains a 24/7 operation.  In 2007 Superior Aluminum and Omni Source were purchased by Steel Dynamics.  Superior Aluminum makes castings, INGOT, Molten Aluminum and Aluminum Diox Cones and have an annual production of 220 million pounds of product per year. They employ 127 people in northeast Indiana and have a $5.8 million dollar annual payroll. – Denny Luma

As the 4th largest mini-mill in the U. S., Steel Dynamics Inc. has $5 billion in annual sales and is the lowest cost producer of steel in the U.S.A   ~Ben Eisbart – VP, Human Resources Steel Dynamics Inc. 4/27/2011

The location of the plant is near the Bandalier Ditch that drains 2 miles south into the Maumee River in New Haven.  The representatives of the company stated there are no NPDES (National Pollution Discharge Elimination System) permits filed.

They encourage everyone to call with concern, questions, or complaints.

260-423-4132 HOTLINE NUMBER – to answer questions or handle complaints

Keith Busse – CEO SDI~Fort Wayne
Denny Luma – President
Jeff Makofika – Plant Manager
Devon Fry – Plant & Equipment Manager
Dave Lesher – Environmental Manager & Safety
Brian Winters – Omni-Source Env. Manager

July 19th at 7pm at the Orchid in New Haven is the next meeting.  We hope everyone will attend and stay involved

For more reading:

46803 Lung Cancer Zone. – Journal Gazette,  Jan. 13, 2008.

Indiana General Assembly Ruling 326 IAC http://www.in.gov/legislative/iac/title326.html  -ARTICLE 6. PARTICULATE RULES

SDI looks to add mill, new market. Journal Gazette, May 20, 2011   http://www.journalgazette.net/article/20110513/BIZ/305139924 

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