U.S. Steel Chemical Spill Closes Beaches, EPA Measuring Toxic Damage

"A spill at the U.S. Steel plant in Portage this week leaked a toxic chemical into Burns Waterway, a Lake Michigan tributary, forcing the closure of beaches in and around the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and leaving officials scrambling to determine the extent of damage caused to the local environment.

Low levels of the chemical hexavalent chromium, which is a carcinogen, were found in Lake Michigan, near the mouth of Burns Waterway, Sam Borries a branch chief for Region 5 of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's emergency response program. It's unclear whether, or how far, the chemical traveled down the shoreline, but officials took 100 samples along the waterway east and west of its entry point to the lake and results are expected Thursday, Borries said.

'It will naturally reduce and stabilize on its own as it moves down the stream,' Borries said."

Amy Lavalley reports for the Chicago Tribune April 12, 2017.


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Source: Chicago Tribune, 04/13/2017