Chesterton Tribune



Cyanide and ammonia below permitted levels at outfalls

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Both cyanide and ammonia levels were below permitted limits at two ArcelorMittal outfall sites for the third consecutive day--through Tuesday, Aug. 20--the company reported after deadline on Friday.

Those water sampling results “reflect normal day-to-day fluctuations while maintaining compliance,” the company said.

Meanwhile, sampling at 13 different in-stream locations along the East Branch of the Little Calumet River “all show non-detect for three consecutive days,” ArcelorMittal added.

“As a result of consistent sampling results, the National Park Service, in partnership with Indiana Department of Environmental Management and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, reopened the Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk Beach at Indiana Dunes National Park effective Thursday, Aug. 22,” the company said.

Some 3,000 fish were killed two weeks ago when the failure of a blast furnace recirculation system on Aug. 11 resulted in the release of high levels of cyanide and ammonia into the Little Calumet, at its confluence with an ArcelorMittal outfall ditch just west of Shadyside Mobile Home Community.

Water company reopens OD treatment facility

Indiana-American Water Company (IAWC) returned its pumping/treatment facility in Ogden Dunes to service on Friday, Aug. 23, three days after taking it off line as a response to what the company called a “chemical release at the U.S. Steel facility in Portage” on Tuesday, Aug. 20.

It’s unclear what actually was released. U.S. Steel called it a “discoloration.” The Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) called it an “oil release.”

In response, IAWC said that it “shut down the facility on Tuesday as a precautionary measure.”

Later in the day on Aug. 20, U.S. Steel released this statement: “This morning, Aug. 20, our team identified a discoloration at our outfall 004 at the Midwest Plant. We immediately notified the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, and samples were collected and expedited to an outside lab for analysis. The results of those tests indicate no presence of hexavalent chromium and no violations of our NPDES permit discharge limitations.”

When asked by the Chesterton Tribune on Wednesday, Aug. 21, what the substance in fact was, a U.S. Steel spokesperson merely forwarded the same statement released late on Aug. 20.

IDEM, for its part, said on Aug. 20 that it was “aware of the reported oil release at U.S. Steel Midwest” and was “investigating.” IDEM, however, never released a follow-up statement.



Posted 8/26/2019




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