AK Steel to Proceed with Conversion of Two Additional Butler Works Pickle Lines

No Decision on Final Two Lines



Apr 26, 2001, 01:00 ET from AK Steel Corporation

    MIDDLETOWN, Ohio, April 26 /PRNewswire/ -- AK Steel Corporation
 (NYSE:   AKS) said today it will proceed with a $20 million project to convert
 two additional stainless and electrical steel pickling lines to hydrogen
 peroxide from nitric acid at its Butler Works. Until recently, the Butler
 Works operated five nitric acid pickling lines. One of those lines was
 converted to hydrogen peroxide in October of 2000 at a cost of more than
 $6 million.  The company said it has made no decision on the conversion of the
 two remaining lines at Butler Works.
     (Photo:  http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/19990901/AKSLOGO )
     "We continue to evaluate the prudence of spending our limited capital
 resources to convert the two remaining lines," said Alan H. McCoy, vice
 president, public affairs.  "We must weigh that alternative against less
 costly options available to us."
     Those options would include routing material to other AK Steel processing
 facilities in Ohio and Indiana.  Nitric acid pickling is the world standard
 for specialty steel pickling, which is a chemical and mechanical process that
 cleans dirt and oxides from the steel's surface.
     The $20 million expenditure to convert the two additional pickle lines is
 necessary to help meet the terms of a consent order which the company entered
 into with the U.S. EPA, Region III, effective March 2, 2001.  The alternative
 to converting the lines was shutting down the pickling operations at Butler
 Works.  The consent order was the result of a highly unusual Emergency Order
 issued against AK Steel by U.S. EPA in June of 2000.
     Even though AK Steel was in compliance with its wastewater discharge
 permits, EPA issued the emergency order requiring the company, among other
 things, to immediately prepare an alternative drinking water plan for the
 Borough of Zelienople and submit a plan for reducing nitrate discharges into
 the Connoquenessing Creek.  The order carried with it the threat of fines of
 $15,000 per day for failure to comply.
     The company has already committed several million dollars in engineering
 work and other costs in order to comply with the Zelienople water supply
 provisions of the consent order. AK Steel notes that nitrates are one of the
 most prevalent constituents of surface waters in the United States.  According
 to reports, more than 80% of nitrates in surface waters are the result of the
 unregulated use of agricultural fertilizer.
     The Borough of Zelienople, approximately 20 miles downstream from the
 Butler Works, utilizes the Connoquenessing Creek as a backup water supply
 during times of severe drought.  The borough has not utilized the creek for
 drinking water since 1999.  Zelienople is the only known municipality that
 draws drinking water from the low-flow Connoquenessing.
     It is not clear to AK Steel what precipitated the issuance of the
 emergency order since the company was in compliance with a valid discharge
 permit and the company is unaware of a single report of adverse health affects
 as a result of its nitrate discharges.  The company says that U.S. EPA has
 received AK Steel's monthly nitrate discharge reports by certified mail at
 least since 1995.
     With headquarters in Middletown, Ohio, AK Steel produces flat-rolled
 carbon, stainless and electrical steel products for automotive, appliance,
 construction and manufacturing markets, as well as standard pipe and tubular
 steel products. The company has about 11,200 employees in steel plants and
 offices in Middletown, Coshocton, Mansfield, Warren and Zanesville, Ohio;
 Ashland, Ky.; Rockport, Ind.; and Butler, Sharon and Wheatland, Pa.
 
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SOURCE AK Steel Corporation
    MIDDLETOWN, Ohio, April 26 /PRNewswire/ -- AK Steel Corporation
 (NYSE:   AKS) said today it will proceed with a $20 million project to convert
 two additional stainless and electrical steel pickling lines to hydrogen
 peroxide from nitric acid at its Butler Works. Until recently, the Butler
 Works operated five nitric acid pickling lines. One of those lines was
 converted to hydrogen peroxide in October of 2000 at a cost of more than
 $6 million.  The company said it has made no decision on the conversion of the
 two remaining lines at Butler Works.
     (Photo:  http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/19990901/AKSLOGO )
     "We continue to evaluate the prudence of spending our limited capital
 resources to convert the two remaining lines," said Alan H. McCoy, vice
 president, public affairs.  "We must weigh that alternative against less
 costly options available to us."
     Those options would include routing material to other AK Steel processing
 facilities in Ohio and Indiana.  Nitric acid pickling is the world standard
 for specialty steel pickling, which is a chemical and mechanical process that
 cleans dirt and oxides from the steel's surface.
     The $20 million expenditure to convert the two additional pickle lines is
 necessary to help meet the terms of a consent order which the company entered
 into with the U.S. EPA, Region III, effective March 2, 2001.  The alternative
 to converting the lines was shutting down the pickling operations at Butler
 Works.  The consent order was the result of a highly unusual Emergency Order
 issued against AK Steel by U.S. EPA in June of 2000.
     Even though AK Steel was in compliance with its wastewater discharge
 permits, EPA issued the emergency order requiring the company, among other
 things, to immediately prepare an alternative drinking water plan for the
 Borough of Zelienople and submit a plan for reducing nitrate discharges into
 the Connoquenessing Creek.  The order carried with it the threat of fines of
 $15,000 per day for failure to comply.
     The company has already committed several million dollars in engineering
 work and other costs in order to comply with the Zelienople water supply
 provisions of the consent order. AK Steel notes that nitrates are one of the
 most prevalent constituents of surface waters in the United States.  According
 to reports, more than 80% of nitrates in surface waters are the result of the
 unregulated use of agricultural fertilizer.
     The Borough of Zelienople, approximately 20 miles downstream from the
 Butler Works, utilizes the Connoquenessing Creek as a backup water supply
 during times of severe drought.  The borough has not utilized the creek for
 drinking water since 1999.  Zelienople is the only known municipality that
 draws drinking water from the low-flow Connoquenessing.
     It is not clear to AK Steel what precipitated the issuance of the
 emergency order since the company was in compliance with a valid discharge
 permit and the company is unaware of a single report of adverse health affects
 as a result of its nitrate discharges.  The company says that U.S. EPA has
 received AK Steel's monthly nitrate discharge reports by certified mail at
 least since 1995.
     With headquarters in Middletown, Ohio, AK Steel produces flat-rolled
 carbon, stainless and electrical steel products for automotive, appliance,
 construction and manufacturing markets, as well as standard pipe and tubular
 steel products. The company has about 11,200 employees in steel plants and
 offices in Middletown, Coshocton, Mansfield, Warren and Zanesville, Ohio;
 Ashland, Ky.; Rockport, Ind.; and Butler, Sharon and Wheatland, Pa.
 
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 SOURCE  AK Steel Corporation