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Tonawanda Coke production completely shut down, DEC says

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The New York State Department of Environmenal Conservation announced late Tuesday afternoon that coke production at Tonawanda Coke Corporation was completely shut down.

Tonawanda Coke's battery consisted of 60 ovens, half of which were still in operation when the company began closing down. Those ovens are now empty.

The DEC issued a written statement Tuesday which begins with the following: "With the shutdown of the last 30 coke ovens at Tonawanda Coke, we are moving this community one step closer to being free of this facility’s billowing smokestacks. DEC will continue to oversee operations until the job is complete, monitoring every step of the shutdown of Tonawanda Coke, and advancing the cleanup of any contamination this facility leaves behind."

The next steps include the cooling of those ovens and the purging of an extensive network of gas lines throughout the site. That is expected to continue through the week.

"DEC continues to closely monitor every aspect of the shutdown to ensure the community and the environment are protected," said the DEC in its prepared written statement. "As the shutdown of operations is concluded, DEC and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will be on-site to assess environmental conditions and address both the short- and long-term investigation and cleanup of contamination at the site. DEC will continue to provide information and regular updates to the public on the progress of the shutdown and cleanup of the site."

Earlier Tuesday, it was revealed the company has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

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