conducted by ArcelorMittal at 15 sites along the East Branch of the Little
Calumet River--as well as at eight sites along the Lake Michigan shoreline,
in Ogden Dunes and West Beach--have found no detections of cyanide, the
Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) reported after
deadline on Wednesday.
Those are the
results of sampling done on Monday, Aug. 19. Previous sampling done on
Sunday, Aug. 18, similarly found no detections of cyanide.
Meanwhile, also on
Wednesday, ArcelorMittal released a timeline of events as a corrective to
“any further confusion” about what the company knew about its exceedances of
cyanide and ammonia, and when.
-- On Thursday,
Aug. 15, ArcelorMittal reported to IDEM that it had exceeded permitted
levels of cyanide, after its blast furnace recirculation system failed on
Sunday, Aug. 11. A copy of that report can be found at usa.arcelormittal.com
-- However, the
company said, the Aug. 15 report to IDEM did not indicate--“contrary
to reports”--that ArcelorMittal was aware on Sunday of the cyanide
exceedance. Nor did the Aug. 15 report indicate that the company was aware
on Sunday of the possibility that the system failure may have resulted
in a discharge of unpermitted levels of contaminants. “As provided in the
report, ArcelorMittal first received conclusive sampling results on
Thursday, Aug. 15, at which time we notified the agencies and publicly
acknowledged the issue.”
-- The cause of the
exceedances was disclosed in a statement released on Friday, Aug. 16.
-- “As a heavy
manufacturer, we are susceptible to process failures, yet they do not always
result in permit exceedances,” ArcelorMittal said. Thus routine NPDES
samples for Outfall 001 and 011 were collected on Sunday, Aug. 11, and again
on Tuesday, Aug. 13. Diagnostic sampling began on Thursday, Aug. 15, and the
formal daily NPDES outfall and instream monitoring began on Friday, Aug. 16.
-- “It’s also
important to understand that the untreated water was not released directly
into the river,” ArcelorMittal said. “It went through the water
recirculation system and secondary wastewater treatment plant and finally to
a settling pond, where it is released in small increments into the river via
our outfalls. This, coupled with a 24-96 hour delay in receiving analytic
information, contributed to a perceived delay between the incident itself
and notification of agencies. Results were reported shortly after receipt.”
-- “The chain of
events is a complicated and lengthy process, but we assure the public that
information was shared as soon as it was confirmed and available,” the
The exceedances of
cyanide and ammonia on Sunday, Aug. 11, resulted in the deaths of some 3,000
fish in the East Branch of the Little Calumet River.