Portage Mayor Reacts To State Report On ArcelorMittal Spill

Oct 29, 2019

ArcelorMittal's Burns Harbor facility
Credit Tyler Lake/WTIU

The mayor of Portage is calling for several changes to the way ArcelorMittal operates. Last week, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management released an investigative report on the company’s August spill of cyanide and ammonia into a Lake Michigan waterway that killed about 3,000 fish.

Among other things, it showed that ArcelorMittal failed to notify IDEM and the public soon enough about problems at the plant.

Mayor John Cannon says ArcelorMittal should monitor for excess chemicals more frequently and send those test results to IDEM daily, place backups for its warning systems in the facility, and replace the fish lost in the Little Calumet River.

Cannon also wants the Burns Harbor sewer treatment plant to have a pre-treatment coordinator to make sure the company is following the procedures.

The Portage mayor had suggestions for IDEM too — that the agency move its northwest regional office from Valparaiso to Portage or set up stations at steel mills in the area.​

Contact Rebecca at rthiele@iu.edu or follow her on Twitter at @beckythiele.

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Indiana Environmental reporting is supported by the Environmental Resilience Institute, an Indiana University Grand Challenge project developing Indiana-specific projections and informed responses to problems of environmental change.