PORTAGE, Ind. (AP) — Some beaches are closed along Lake Michigan in northwestern Indiana after authorities say a chemical spill into the Little Calumet River caused fish to die in the area.
The National Park Service announced 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 the Burns Harbor steel mill belonging to ArcelorMittal released excess amounts of cyanide and ammonia-nitrogen into the 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.
A northwestern Indiana mayor says state environmental officials waited several days before notifying his city about the chemical spill.
Portage Mayor John Cannon said in a statement Friday that the Indiana Department of Environmental Management and others learned Monday about the steel mill’s spill 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.
Two AP reports were combined for this piece by Great Lakes Now News Director Natasha Blakely.