For sustainable society


A chemical spill around Lake Michigan makes beaches closed and fishes damaged

 According to a statement by Portage, Indiana, United States, part of a beach of Indiana Dunes National Park was closed since cyanide and ammoniac nitrogen exceeding standards spilled into the Little Calumet River upstream from Lake Michigan and killed hundreds of fishes. The cause is that a failure in a blast furnace water recirculation system at Burns Harbor steelmaking plant of ArcelorMittal, a steel and mining company headquartered in Luxembourg, and that water waste with high level of cyanide and ammoniac nitrogen was released into the river.

 John Cannon, mayor of Portage, visited the Portage Public Marina for inspection. At that time, along with the responsibility of ArcelorMittal, who caused the accident, he blamed the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) that they took three days until reporting the incident to the city after they were informed from the company.

 Although the system at the steelmaking plant has now been improved, residents are still required to stay away from off-limits areas and to avoid eating the fish from the affected area.

 In the future, ArcelorMittal will provide the latest information as necessary by closely cooperating with IDEM, Portage and the government agencies such as United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Natural Resources Agency (DNR) while conducting water quality surveys at several relevant locations, so that such communication errors do not occur again. The updated information will be published through social media and the official government website of Portage.