AK Steel, Middletown

Jul 25, 2007: AK Steel's dream fulfilled
Profits top $100 a ton - a first in firm's history

MIDDLETOWN -- "AK Steel Corp. on Tuesday posted a second-quarter operating profit of $109 a ton, the first time the 107-year-old steelmaker has ever achieved operating earnings of more than $100 a ton. 'Operating profits of $100 a ton has been a goal of this management team and others,' James L. Wainscott, AK Steel's chairman and president, told investors.' The milestone was part of record profits and revenues reported for the three months ended June 30 and the latest sign of the dramatic turn in fortunes at AK Steel over the last 3½ years since Wainscott was named acting CEO in a board-led management shake-up," Cincinnati Enquirer.

May 22, 2007: Analysts predict AK Steel is likely target of takeover

CINCINNATI -- "With several years of labor peace nearly assured, AK Steel is an attractive takeover target in an industry in which global giants keep gobbling up independent steelmakers, analysts say... A report on a Financial Times Web site that ArcelorMittal, the world's biggest steelmaker, was looking at AK Steel sent shares rocketing 20 percent to record highs two weeks ago before investors realized, as analyst Charles Bradford put it, `There was nothing there,' " Terry Kinney, Associated Press.

Mar 26, 2007: EPA confirms toxins in aquifer

NEW MIAMI-- "Pollution from AK Steel Corp.'s former iron and coke production plant has contaminated an aquifer nearby, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said Friday. But that aquifer does not supply drinking water to the city of Hamilton or Liberty and West Chester townships, representatives from the EPA said. The 252-acre site, now owned by Armco successor AK Steel, sits on either side of Augspurger Road to the east of Ohio 127 and is bounded on the south by the Great Miami River," Dave Greber, Middletown Journal.

Mar 23, 2007: Ray Agee

Ray Agee MIDDLETOWN -- "A lifelong resident of Middletown, Ohio and Des Moines, Iowa passed away at home on March 20, 2007 after a short struggle with cancer. He was a very active member of the activist group Sierra Club and took a lead role in the AK Come Clean campaign in Middletown, Ohio. The campaign was focused on the clean-up of homes, land and waterways surrounding AK Steel," Middletown Journal.

Jan 17, 2007: Dicks Creek public meeting

MIDDLETOWN-- "To our neighbors and community: You are invited to attend a public meeting to learn more about the Dicks Creek cleanup. Hosted by AK Steel, this meeting will feature a short presentation about the cleanup, followed by a question and answer session," Alan McCoy, Vice President, Government and Public Relations, AK Steel Corporation. 400 KB pdf.

Jan 3, 2007: EPA to seek comment on AK Steel permits

MIDDLETOWN -- "The Ohio EPA will seek public comment Jan. 11 at 7 p.m. in city council chambers on AK Steel's application to renew permits for two underground hazardous-waste injection wells at its Middletown plant. The two 3,200-foot deep wells hold spent pickle liquor, containing hydrochloric acid, that's used in removing scale for steel. The renewal permit sets new terms for the company to use high pressure to inject the used fluid into the half-mile-deep Eau Claire sandstone formation," Mike Boyer, Cincinnati Enquirer .

Dec 30, 2006: AK's waste storage debated

MIDDLETOWN -- "It's not well known that AK Steel disposes of gallons of hazardous waste from Middletown Works in two wells located more than a half mile underground. But the practice is safe, according to company officials and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. A public hearing has been scheduled to discuss details in the renewal of two permits for AK Steel Corp. to dispose of spent pickle liquor — a class I hazardous material — into two natural underground wells," Dave Greber, Middletown Journal.

Nov 8, 2006: AK Steel Environmental Consent Decree

Map of the Dicks Creek study area in Middletown

MIDDLETOWN -- "Known formally as a Consent Decree, this agreement outlines specific actions AK Steel will take to address PCB issues in Dicks Creek, which is located south of Oxford State Road and flows into the Great Miami River. AK Steel will also investigate potential on-site contamination at the steel plant," AK Steel Middletown Works.

Interim Measures for Dicks Creek Study Area

Oct 26, 2006:  AK Steel to update residents on Dicks Creek status
Company will begin taking inquiries about the $13M cleanup of waterway

MIDDLETOWN -- "In 2003, reports showed dangerously high levels of polychlorinated biphenyls — or PCBs, a known carcinogen — in Dicks Creek near Oxford State and Yankee roads and behind Amanda Elementary School. AK Steel says it has no operations that involve PCBs. According to a 2006 consent agreement, the company said it will remove contaminated sediment and soil from affected areas of the creek," Dave Greber, Middletown Journal.

Jul 18, 2006:  Soot still falls by AK Steel
Pollution controls leave neighbors unimpressed

Paul Webb lives a few block from AK Steel.
MIDDLETOWN -- "Longtime residents say they have noticed little change in the amount of soot and metallic 'kish' raining down on them. Since June 1, residents have filed 16 complaints to the Hamilton County Department of Environmental Services, which monitors the plant for the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. The pollution controls were supposed to cure the complaints. 'It's as bad right now as it's been in the 15 years I've lived here,' said Paul Webb, a 71-year-old retiree who lives on Lamberton Street in Mayfield. 'It's the same way it was before they got their equipment,'" James McNair, Cincinnati Enquirer.

Apr 20, 2006: AK completes next phase of hot end air emissions project

MIDDLETOWN -- "AK Steel has taken another step in its $65 million air pollution-control investment into the Middletown Works’ hot end... 'Completion of this complex and costly project is demonstrable evidence of AK Steel’s commitment to Middletown’s hot end operations, the environment and the Middletown community,' James Wainscott, AK chairman, president and chief executive, said in the statement," Thomas Gnau, Middletown Journal.

Apr 14, 2006:  AK Steel seeks quicker pace for talks; OSHA still investigating explosion

MIDDLETOWN -- "AK Steel has proposed accelerating negotiations with the union representing 2,700 locked-out workers after the sides met just 12 times in the first six weeks of the lockout at the company's biggest mill. Meanwhile, Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigators likely will spend several more days interviewing witnesses to Sunday night's explosions that injured three workers at AK Steel's plant. OSHA officials have had difficulty setting up interviews with some witnesses, said spokesman Dick Gilgrist," Cincinnati Enquirer.

Apr 10, 2006:  Explosion strikes AK Steel
Injuries reported; blast heard for miles

MIDDLETOWN -- "Three explosions late Sunday night at AK Steel shook homes and buildings for miles, sent a mushroom cloud 150 feet into the air and injured three employees. Pieces of red-hot slag ignited 15 to 20 small fires, damaging the roof of a building, two trailers, a dumpster and a pickup truck, the fire chief said. "All I saw was this huge ball at first,' said union employee Glenn Reliford. 'I’ve worked here 16 years and this was 10 times louder than anything I’ve heard here. It was deafening,'" Janice Morse and Denise Smith Amos, Cincinnati Enquirer.

MIDDLETOWN -- Blast furnace explosion reported at AK Steel plant, Lance Barry, WCPO.

Apr 9, 2006:  Waters less turbulent for Dicks Creek
Creek flows behind school, homes in Middletown AK settles lawsuit with Ohio, U.S. EPAs to clean up polluted area

MIDDLETOWN -- "AK Steel also has endured battles — in and out of court — over air pollution. Ohio Citizen Action, the state’s largest environmental watchdog group, carried out a three-year campaign and produced 30,000 member letters from residents across Southwest Ohio urging AK to cut back its air pollution. The group chose to focus on clean air because the lawsuit addressed water issues, said Rachael Belz, the group’s associate director," Meghan Crosby, Middletown Journal.

Apr 4, 2006:  Settlement with AK Steel will require cleanup and investigation of contamination of Middletown plant

WASHINGTON, DC -- "The United States, the state of Ohio, and two citizen groups have reached a settlement with AK Steel Corporation resolving claims that discharges from AK Steel's Middletown, Ohio steel plant pose a threat to human health and the environment, and violated federal and state environmental statutes and regulations. Under the settlement, AK Steel commits to clean up PCB- contaminated sediments from two streams that are tributaries to the Great Miami River and to remove contaminated soils from adjacent floodplain areas," press release, U. S. Department of Justice.

Mar 4, 2006:  Buyout report changes outlook

MIDDLETOWN -- "Rival U.S. Steel Corp. is reportedly interested in acquiring AK Steel, a move that could complicate efforts to resolve the four-day lockout of 2,700 hourly employees at the Middletown Works. Neither company would comment on a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette report Friday that U.S. Steel directors were told on Tuesday - the same day AK locked out members of Armco Employees Independent Federation - that a preliminary purchase price had been given to AK officials. The amount of the cash and stock offer wasn't disclosed. The news triggered a 23 percent jump in AK Steel's stock Friday. The stock, which has risen about 80 percent since June in the wake of widespread industry takeover speculation, closed Friday at $13.99, up $2.65. U.S. Steel's shares closed at $57.98, up 38 cents," Mike Boyer, Cincinnati Enquirer.

Jun 24, 2005:  AK Steel particle pollution cuts: 90%, maybe 99%

CINCINNATI -- "AK Steel must cut particle emissions by May 2006 to meet the new federal Maximum Achievable Control Technology standard. U.S. EPA officials estimate that this will reduce particle pollution by 90%. Officials at the Hamilton County Department of Environmental Services estimate that AK Steel may be able to reduce particle pollution by up to 99% after all controls are installed and running at highest efficiency," Rachael Belz, Associate Director, Ohio Citizen Action.

Jun 13, 2005:  AK Steel update: Company reports it's ahead of schedule on second round of improvements

MIDDLETOWN -- "AK Steel reported to the Department of Environmental Services and the Ohio EPA that it is ahead of schedule, with 50% of the construction on new pollution controls at the Basic Oxygen Furnaces in Middletown. In April 2005, AK announced the completion of upgrades to the Blast Furnace in Middletown. Both of these furnace upgrades will account for between 90-99% reduction of particulates released. These improvements need to be completed by May, 2006 and will complement the improvements they finalized on the Blast Furnace this past April," Rachael Belz, Ohio Citizen Action.
Apr 28, 2005:  Photos of AK Steel Middletown modernization


The AK Steel blast furnace cast house where molten iron is drained from the furnace. The upper left is the tap hole, one of two on the furnace, where the iron flows out of the furnace into a runner. The hood assembly just above the molten iron is part of the Clean Air Act standards Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) equipment, and an angled section of round ductwork that moves the dust to the baghouse. In the center is another piece of the MACT equipment, a hood and duct work over the area where the iron is directed into hot metal rail cars below the floor.


The baghouse, where large fans pull the dust into the white bags (Photos by AK Steel)

Apr 27, 2005:  AK Steel completes Phase One of Middletown Works environmental project ahead of schedule

AK SteelMIDDLETOWN -- "AK Steel said today that installation of a new emission control system on its Middletown blast furnace has been completed nearly one month ahead of schedule. The blast furnace project is the first phase of a $66 million capital expenditure by AK Steel to install additional air emission controls at its Middletown Works in order to meet the Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) standards of the federal Clean Air Act. AK Steel said that the new system will capture approximately 90% of the fugitive air emissions at the blast furnace cast house, or about 300 tons of non-hazardous dust per year," release, AK Steel, April 26, 2005, 24 KB pdf.

MIDDLETOWN -- AK installing pollution control; Steelmaker: First phase complete, Middletown Journal.

Mar 31, 2005:  Activists impressed by AK Steel action

Neighbors say company fixing pollution problem

AK Steel

MIDDLETOWN -- "'I think they’re actually really trying to cut it down,' [neighbor Ray] Agee said. Rachael Belz, associate director of Ohio Citizen Action, agrees. 'This leadership has responded obviously better than any recent leadership at AK Steel,' Belz said. . . .On May 22, a year ahead of a federal deadline, AK will install new controls on its Middletown blast furnace, said Alan McCoy, AK vice president, government and public relations. In May 2006, nearer the MACT deadline, new controls will be installed on the Middletown basic oxygen furnace, McCoy said. AK will spend $66 million for controls on both furnaces, McCoy said. As part of the settlement, AK agreed to a series of programs that cut its civil penalties to $266,000. AK also agreed to extend a line of trees and other plants along company property to help keep dirt, dust and noise from dispersing. Also to be completed by mid-summer: $1 million of work on the plant’s coke battery bag house, which collects emissions from that part of that plant, McCoy said. Also, a scrubber in the coke plant byproducts area has been replaced, he said. 'It's our intention to comply with those rules and regulations and to be a good neighbor,'" Thomas Gnau, Middletown Journal.

Mar 30, 2005:  Watchdog group back in area seeking support from local residents

Sarah Grutza
Sarah Grutza
MIDDLETOWN -- "Sarah Grutza, canvass director for Ohio Citizen Action, said no area company is being targeted by the group. Instead, group volunteers will be going door-to-door in Middletown and Carlisle to raise awareness of environmental issues as a whole, she said. 'We're all affected by the pollution,” Grutza said. Ohio Citizen Action is at the tail end of a self-styled four-year 'Good Neighbor' campaign against AK Steel over the steel manufacturer’s emissions from its Middletown plant. Grutza said Ohio Citizen Action is continuing its dialogue with AK Steel officials. During the time of the 'Good Neighbor' campaign, AK Steel has installed a fence around Dicks Creek and agreed to cut emissions. Ohio Citizen Action’s current efforts target Lanxess Plastics, an Addyston-based company on the Ohio River that makes plastics used for toys, automobile interiors, refrigerator linings and medical parts, Grutza said," M. Kurtz, Middletown Journal.

Jan 31, 2005:  AK Steel gets rare praise from environmental group

MIDDLETOWN -- "AK Steel, which has a manufacturing facility in Mansfield, doesn't get many kudos from the Sierra Club. But even the environmental group, which has dogged the steelmaker over air and water pollution issues, likes what it sees in AK's recent moves to improve its relationship with the community. 'It appears the company has put in place responsive leadership, and the government is working with the community to hold AK responsible to their promises,' said Sierra Club spokeswoman Susan Knight. Ray Agee of Oneida, a former AK employee and one of its frequent critics, said new chairman James Wainscott has made a difference. 'There's a big change in the attitude of management,' he said. 'When Mr. Wainscott took over, it was a completely different story. I really think he's honestly interested in cleaning it up,'" Mansfield News Journal.

Jan 10, 2005:  Local steel stocks forged big gains, but 2005 outlook isn't as bright

Chinese steel plant
Wire bundles at a steel factory in Zhangjiagang near the mouth of the Yangzi River. In 1980, Zhangjiagang was a fishing village with 10,000 people. Today, 800,000 people live there.
CINCINNATI -- "The two local stocks that raced beyond the herd were steel companies NS Group Inc., parent of Newport Steel, and AK Steel Holding Corp. Shareholders of each company nearly tripled their money last year. . . . 'Whether steel stocks move higher or not depends on China,' [John Augustine, director of investment strategy at Fifth Third Investment Advisors] said. Many believe China might be making enough steel to be a net exporter this year, he said. In fact, both NS Group and AK Steel stumbled at year-end and in early January after a report that China was a net exporter of steel for a third straight month. Analysts are concerned domestic steel prices might fall," Steve Watkins, Cincinnati Business Courier.

Older news

2003: Jan - Jun, Jul - Dec

AK Steel

As of Jul 12, 2004. . .

6,219 neighbors have sent handwritten letters and petitions urging AK Steel CEO James Wainscott to stop PCBs from leaking into Dick's Creek and clean up past contamination.

3,748 neighbors have sent handwritten letters and petitions urging AK Steel CEO James Wainscott to build a fence immediately around Dick's Creek to keep kids safe.

4,967 neighbors have sent handwritten letters and petitions pressing Middletown's Mayor and City Manager to get a safety fence built around Dick's Creek immediately.

24,988 neighbors have sent handwritten letters and petitions urging AK Steel executives and board to cut the pollution pouring out of the Middletown plant