Management at the Nucor steel mill in northeast West Seattle says they’re “working … to mitigate the problem” that’s caused startling booms in recent days. The one reported here on Saturday evening, after hearing from readers, was such a jolt, some said, they didn’t think it was from the plant because they’d never felt anything like it. We talked this afternoon with Nucor’s environmental manager Patrick Jablonski. He explained that this can happen “when we add wet scrap metal into our furnace … I think we are particularly vulnerable to it because of our climate; it happens more often in the wintertime.” He said Nucor is “certainly not happy” about this, and is trying to find out why it’s happened repeatedly in recent days, so they can work “to mitigate the problem.” Jablonski also told WSB, “We’ve worked over the years to minimize it … As far as I know, we are the only mill that built a large canopy to keep the rain off the scrap in our scrapyard … We’ve developed additional procedures over the years.” But that doesn’t get all the rain – or snow, if the scrap was brought over the mountain passes – off the steel, and when the wet scrap metal goes into the furnace (which is on the north side of the main building), the evaporation happens quickly and loudly. No one was hurt, he added. Some commenters asked about contacting the plant in case of an incident; you can call the general number, 206-933-2222, around the clock – if it’s after-hours, security can get in touch with someone to check into it, Jablonski said.
West Seattle, Washington