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.
sampling results “reflect normal day-to-day fluctuations while maintaining
compliance,” the company said.
at 13 different in-stream locations along the East Branch of the Little
Calumet River “all show non-detect for three consecutive days,”
“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 (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