Chemical spill shuts down beach on Dunes; lawsuit in works

PORTAGE, Ind. —  Part of the Indiana Dunes National Park has been shut down because of a chemical spill and some Indiana communities claim they were kept in the dark.

Indiana environmental authorities learned Monday the ArcelorMittal steel plant had released toxic levels of chemicals into the Little Calumet River.   But city officials in Portage, Indiana say they didn’t hear about the contamination until Thursday.

Thousands of fish died, and the national park service shut down the lakefront beach.  Surfers are concerned about cyanide exposure.

The mayor of Portage says he wants state authorities to be in better contact with local communities in a situation like this.

The NWI TImes reports that The Portage Port Authority, a local marina development and various individuals are teaming up to sue ArcelorMittal, who they say put people at risk and disrupted business and recreation.  The group is filing notice of their intent to sue for violations of the Clean Water Act.

Indiana environmental officials have ordered the steel company to clean up the spill and monitor the chemical levels in the water.

While trails are still open for hiking, there’s no swimming at the nation’s newest national park until officials determine the water is safe.

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