Burns Harbor Town
Council President Nick Loving entered a formal report on chemical
exceedances from ArcelorMittal’s Burns Harbor plant into the record at
Wednesday’s Town Council meeting so future Councils can know who they’re
The report, by the
Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM), found ArcelorMittal
Burns Harbor in seven violations of its National Pollutant Discharge
Elimination System (NPDES) permit, in connection with an Aug. 12 fish-kill
along the East Branch of the Little Calumet River.
fish were killed due to discharges of cyanide and ammonium nitrate following
a catastrophic failure of ArcelorMittal’s blast furnace gas-washing
recycle-system pump station Aug. 11.
Loving read from
the report, highlighting sections that detail how ArcelorMittal was aware of
system failures that led to the chemical exceedances, including an earlier
incident on Aug. 4, and failed to report them to IDEM and downstream users
in a timely fashion.
Loving said the
report “shows they did not make any effort to increase monitoring in
response to their failures” before the fish kill.
Loving said he
wanted the entire report on record, and wanted to emphasize certain
highlights “so future Councils know who we’re dealing with when it comes to
“They knew what
they were doing. They did it anyway, and at the end they tried to cover it
up by not providing requested information to the state,” Loving said.
Vice-president Eric Hull noted that the Town owns a wastewater treatment
facility inside the Burns Harbor plant that ArcelorMittal services, and said
it was important to note that the Town’s facility was not the one that
In other business,
Council member Ray Poparad thanked the community for its support following
the general election where he and the other three incumbents who ran were
re-elected. Poparad also welcomed Roseann Bozak, the newest Council
received correspondence regarding its employee health insurance renewal from
Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield that indicates the Town’s current plan will
increase in cost by 14 percent next year if renewed. The Council members
expressed dissatisfaction with the increase and opted to discuss the matter
further at their next meeting, since the letter had just arrived Wednesday.
The Council voted
to renew its contract with Republic Services that locks in the Town’s trash
pick-up fee at under $17 per unit per month through 2021. Loving said the
contract is a boon for the Town, since a new agreement would have cost $19
or $20 per unit per month due to increasing costs in recycling. The Council
dodged such an increase because it years ago approved a contract that had
two two-year renewal options built-in, Loving said.
Hull also noted
that Burns Harbor is unique in the fact that it doesn’t pass the cost of
trash pick-up onto its residents. Trash pick-up is paid for by the Town.