Chesterton Tribune

ArcelorMittal landfill on Burns Harbor plan agenda

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By PAULENE POPARAD

Despite ArcelorMittal’s legal notice to the contrary, the Burns Harbor Advisory Plan Commission will not conduct a public hearing Monday on the steelmaker’s request for two excavation permits tied to an industrial-waste landfill at the U.S. 12 plant.

Instead, the commission has scheduled preliminary hearings at its 7 p.m. meeting to review the permit applications. If they are in order, a future public hearing will be set.

The notice of public hearing published Sept. 2 in the Chesterton Tribune at a Mittal manager’s request was news to planning officials.

According to commission secretary Tyler DeMar, “Typically, I get a phone call from petitioners before they file anything. This time, all I got was a box of documents via Fedex (on Sept. 2).”

One excavation permit is for the planned 75-acre Deerfield storage facility at Mittal that generated controversy during its 2009 permitting process before the Indiana Department of Environmental Management. Mittal proposes building a state-of-the-art landfill to accept sludge byproducts from its Burns Harbor manufacturing process, some of which have been stockpiled on site.

The second Burns Harbor permit sought is for a proposed $3 million project to excavate clay on a portion of the land Mittal owns west of Praxair and the town’s Street Department bulk storage structure. The borrow-pit site will be accessed by trucks, tarped when necessary, using Navajo Trail west of Indiana 149.

According to the application submitted by Mittal consultants, subsurface clay will be excavated, loaded and hauled to the steel plant for use in constructing the recompacted soil liner for Phase 1 of the Deerfield waste-storage facility. The clay to be excavated is covered by approximately 12 inches of vegetated topsoil that will be removed, stockpiled on site and spread over the excavated clay borrow area, then revegetated with plant material.

By using Navajo Trail, according to the consultant, there will be a minimal effect on existing traffic patterns and surrounding property.

Navajo, a short dead-end road, is located immediately north of the town hall between the Little Calumet River and North Boo Road; Navajo’s the only access to Indian Springs subdivision and to the town Fire, Street and Building Departments.

The permit application notes that because of the size of the 187-acre parcel and the existing tree cover there that will serve as a screen, the borrow-pit activities won’t cause adverse aesthetic effects for adjacent property owners or the passing public.

Under the town’s excavation ordinance, after the public hearing the Plan Commission shall approve or deny a permit application. Any party aggrieved by that decision has 10 days to file a written notice of appeal to the Town Council.

In August, 2009 the Burns Harbor Board of Zoning Appeals reversed its decision made two months prior and granted zoning approval to expand Mittal’s on-site waste disposal after Mittal filed a lawsuit challenging the June landfill rejection. The BZA and the steelmaker agreed to eight conditions related to the landfill expansion under a settlement proposal that had Mittal drop its legal action.

 

Posted 9/9/2011