The Latest: Mayor: Officials delayed notifying city of spill

PORTAGE, Ind. (AP) — The Latest on a chemical spill northwestern Indiana’s Lake Michigan shoreline (all times local):

2:20 p.m.

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.


12:39 p.m.

Some beaches along northwestern Indiana’s Lake Michigan shoreline are closed after authorities say a chemical spill in a tributary caused a fish kill.

The National Park Service said Thursday it closed the Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk beach areas at Indiana Dunes National Park as well as waters out to 300 feet (91 meters).

The Indiana Department of Environmental Management says ArcelorMittal’s Burns Harbor plant released excess amounts of cyanide and ammonia-nitrogen into the Little Calumet River’s east branch, causing a fish kill noticed this week.

ArcelorMittal says in a statement it’s investigating and will “continue to work closely with the agencies involved.”

The city of Ogden Dunes also closed its beach. Officials say the city’s drinking water wasn’t affected, but its filtration plant restricted water intake as a precaution.

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