No one knows exactly when the roof of Control Room # 2 at U.S. Steel’s Clairton Coke Works started to leak. But leak it did, probably for “years,” in the words of one investigator hired by the company⁠. 

Control Room #2 is an industrial building inside the coke works complex, about 20 miles south of Pittsburgh. It houses key parts of the plant’s pollution control system, which keeps thousands of pounds of harmful pollution out of Pittsburgh’s air every day. 

The leaking water dripped liquid onto the building’s sprinkler system, where it corroded a pipe joint until “no metal remained⁠” in some parts of the joint; in other parts, the joint was just “paper-thin metal,” the investigators found. 

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