Officials delayed notifying Indiana city of chemical spill, mayor says

PORTAGE, Ind.  — A northwestern Indiana mayor says state environmental officials waited several days before notifying his city about a chemical spill that has caused a fish kill and prompted the closure of beaches along Lake Michigan.

Portage Mayor John Cannon said in a statement Friday that the Indiana Department of Environmental Management and others learned Monday about a steel mill’s spill of cyanide and ammonia-nitrogen but didn’t inform the city until Thursday.

The (Northwest Indiana) Times reports Cannon says Portage officials “will be taking aggressive action” with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency “to ensure the breakdown of communication, like this, does not occur again.”

IDEM didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

The agency says ArcelorMittal’s Burns Harbor steel mill released excess amounts of the chemicals into the Little Calumet River’s east branch.

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