Vineyard - 2006

A large cloud of smoke rises into the air as clean up efforts continue at Geneva Steel in Vineyard Friday, January 13, 2006.

An obnoxious odor coming from near Geneva Steel does not pose any human health risks, according to scientists with the Utah Department of Environmental Quality.

Residents near Lindon, Orem and Vineyard reported the odd smell as early as last weekend, according to a social media post from the department on Friday.

Officials believe the “noxious smell” is naphthalene released from coal tar pits being cleaned up as part of the Former Geneva Steel Facility Eastside Remediation Project.

“Although cleanup operations are continuing at the site, all work at the coal tar pits has halted,” the post stated.

According to OSHA protective standards, scientists were “confident” the naphthalene odors do not pose health risks to employees working in the coal tar pits. However, the department required confirmation that the smell was harmless.

Contractors working on the cleanup will be allowed to continue cleaning the coal tar pits next Wednesday and install six air monitors to collect data for a week. The information will be analyzed in December, officials reported.

“Considering the neighborhood is surrounded by industrial sources, it’s possible that the odor is from another industrial processes,” the social media post stated.

Residents were encouraged to report any continued or additional odors to city officials with Lindon, Orem or Vineyard.

The steel mill was originally owned and operated by U.S. Steel from the 1943 to 1987 before being acquired by Geneva Steel in 1987. The site stopped operations in November 2001 and Anderson Geneva bought the site nearly four years later.

Coal tar is a byproduct of the historical steel production at the site.

Ashley Stilson covers crime, courts and breaking news for the Daily Herald. She can be reached at 801-344-2556 or

See what people are talking about at The Community Table!