UPDATE: U.S. Steel Has Third Spill In As Many Months, Reopens Most Of Plant

Nov 5, 2019

The U.S. Steel facility overlooks the Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk.
Credit Tyler Lake/WTIU

U.S. Steel has reopened most of the Midwest Plant as of Tuesday, Nov. 5. Spokesperson Amanda Malkowski says the facility’s tin line is still closed, but the closure isn’t related to the spill. ​ 

Last week, U.S. Steel’s northwest Indiana facility had its third spill in as many months into Lake Michigan waterways. In a news release, U.S. Steel says its Midwest Plant in Portage was slightly over its limit for hexavalent chromium. 

Two years ago, it discharged 300 pounds of that same cancer-causing chemical into the Burns Waterway. It's also had two oil leaks this year — on in August and one in September.

The company says parts of the Midwest facility were immediately shut down following the Oct. 30 spill and will stay that way as it investigates the cause of the leak. U.S. Steel also notified local stakeholders and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.

This comes less than a week after IDEM released its investigative report on a spill from another northwest Indiana steelmaker which killed about 3,000 fish. 

In the report, the agency said ArcelorMittal failed to notify the authorities of problems at the plant which could put public health and the environment at risk.

This story has been updated.

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.