Beth Steel pays $43,000 for pollution Amount atones for discharges into bay; other counts pend.


Bethlehem Steel Corp. has paid $43,000 to settle state charges that its Sparrows Point plant polluted tributaries of Chesapeake Bay, the Maryland Department of the Environment announced today.

But the company still faces more than $1.2 million in state and federal penalties for continuing air and water pollution violations at its Baltimore County plant, according to Michael Sullivan, a spokesman for the state environmental agency.

Bethlehem Steel's payment to the state's Clean Water Fund settles $45,250 in civil penalties the state had proposed last September for violations of its pollution discharge permit from July 1988 to last July.

The steel company was accused of periodically discharging excessive amounts of conventional and toxic pollutants, such as oil and grease, ammonia, benzene and naphthalene. Sparrows Point discharges more than 400 million gallons of treated wastewater and cooling water daily into the Patapsco River, Bear Creek and Old Road Bay.

The state also charged that the plant failed to comply with monitoring and reporting requirements.

Bethlehem Steel agreed in a consent order to improve its wastewater treatment and to provide more training to its staff on pollution monitoring and reporting.

The company still faces $91,500 in state fines and a lawsuit seeking $1.07 million in civil penalties for ongoing air pollution violations at Sparrows Point. The suit, filed last October by the state over alleged failures to reduce coke oven emissions at Sparrows Point, is in Baltimore County Circuit Court.

A suit filed last May by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency seeking $150,000 in penalties from Bethlehem Steel also is pending, according to the state spokesman. That suit is over spills of sulfuric acid and ferric chloride in 1988 and 1989.

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