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Echo Bay still under state of emergency following oil spill

Algoma Steel also says the spill did not exceed 1,250 litres of oil, correcting the initial estimate of nearly 20,000 litres reported by the U.S. Coast Guard
2022-09-06-oil-spill5
Crews lay a boom in the water at the scene of an oil spill on the St. Marys River on June 9, 2022.

Algoma Steel is offering to cover the costs of purchasing and transporting clean water to Echo Bay, which remains in a state of emergency following last week's oil spill in the St. Marys River.

Echo Bay has shut down the intake pipe for its water treatment plant to avoid contamination from the spill, and has been trucking in safe water from outside sources.

In a press release issued this morning, Algoma Steel says it hopes to mitigate the damage to the environment that the June 9 spill could cause. The company also said that according its analysis, "the estimated amount of oil that was ultimately discharged into the river from our water treatment plant is in the range of 1000 litres (263 gallons) to 1250 litres (330 gallons), with the amount not likely exceeding 1,250 litres."

If accurate, that number is far less than what the U.S. Coast Guard reported on the day of the spill: 5,300 gallons of oil, or approximately 20,000 litres.

“This event certainly did not live up to the high standard we set for ourselves," said Michael Garcia, Algoma Steel's newly appointed CEO, in a prepared statement. "I assure you the entire Algoma team has felt the weight of this incident’s impact on our community. We are focused on mitigating any possible impact and are grateful for the collaboration with all parties involved as we work together to do what needs to be done to protect the environment.”

The full press release is below:

Today Algoma Steel Group Inc. (NASDAQ: ASTL; TSX: ASTL) (“Algoma” or “the Company”), provided the following update to the community and neighbouring stakeholders regarding the June 9 accidental release of lubricant oil into the St. Mary’s River.

The company continues to actively work with authorities to mitigate any possible impact to the environment. We are maintaining an open dialogue with our stakeholders and have extended an offer to the Village of Echo Bay to cover the cost of purchasing and transporting water to their community on an interim basis.

While the sheen has dissipated and is no longer visible, we continue to conduct sampling and monitoring on the waterway. Our technical assessment of the incident continues as we work to identify and implement the appropriate controls to prevent such an occurrence from happening again.

Working with the assistance of expert technical advisors, we have been able to ascertain that the estimated amount of oil that was ultimately discharged into the river from our water treatment plant is in the range of 1000 litres (263 gallons) to 1250 litres (330 gallons), with the amount not likely exceeding 1,250 litres. This information along with the analysis methodology have been provided to the Ministry of Environment, Conservation, and Parks, whom we continue to work closely with.

Algoma Steel Chief Executive Officer Michael Garcia commented, “This event certainly did not live up to the high standard we set for ourselves. I assure you the entire Algoma team has felt the weight of this incident’s impact on our community. We are focused on mitigating any possible impact and are grateful for the collaboration with all parties involved as we work together to do what needs to be done to protect the environment.”