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Magnetized steel

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We have a project where we're welding steel plates to an existing steel gate
at a dam.  The existing steel has somehow become magnetized at some portions
of the gate, making the welding very difficult.  The contractor wants a
change order because the welds are coming out defective and taking longer.
We've found some references to magnetized steel in the literature, but no
solutions to the problem.
Does anyone have any experience with magnetized steel and how to demagnetize
it?  Thanks in advance.