Indiana Dunes beaches closed after U.S. Steel plant spill

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PORTAGE, Ind. — Beaches are closed at Indiana Dunes National Park after a plant spill from U.S. Steel.

Officials said they don’t know what the orange substance that’s spilling into the Burns Waterway is at this time. Beaches are closed until test results come back.

Portage Mayor Sue Lynch said she started receiving calls about the substance at around 6 p.m. Sunday. She immediately went to the lake to snap pictures.

“I hate when anything gets in the lake that doesn’t belong there,” Lynch said. “It was going along the edge in the beginning but then it started. By the time I left, it was all the way across the channel.”

Indiana American Water shut off its intake valve as a precaution while several crews collected samples.

“I know there’s been a lot of testing going on today,” Lynch said. “U.S. Steel assured me as soon as they got any kind of results, they would contact me immediately.”

U.S. Steel has shut down operations at the plant as the situation unfolds.

“U. S. Steel shut down operations at its Midwest Plant as a precaution after experiencing an upset condition with the finishing line wastewater treatment plant. The plant operations will remain down until the condition is stabilized. This upset is currently believed to be the cause of the discolored water seen coming from one of our outfalls. Early indications show higher than normal suspended solids in the water, and we are conducting additional sampling and an investigation to determine the cause. U. S. Steel made all appropriate notifications to regulatory agencies and some officials have been onsite, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, the U.S. Coast Guard, and Porter County. We will continue to work with regulators and the community and will provide additional updates as they become available.”

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