A utility has restarted a northwest Indiana water treatment facility one week after idling it following a U.S. Steel plant’s discharge of iron-tainted wastewater into a Lake Michigan tributary.
Indiana American Water said it restarted its Ogden Dunes treatment facility Sunday after water sampling results confirmed the discharge did not impact its Lake Michigan water source.
The utility used water from a Gary treatment facility to meet its customers’ needs during the precautionary shutdown that began Sept. 26 after the U.S. Steel Midwest plant in Portage sent a rusty colored plume containing elevated levels of iron into the Burns Waterway.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said last week that preliminary sampling results showed the reddish-orange discharge from the steelmaker’s plant in Portage, about 30 miles east of Chicago, presented no public health threat.
The EPA and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management said they were continuing to investigate the cause of the discharge, along with any possible Clean Water Act compliance issues and environmental impacts.
U.S. Steel shut down the Portage plant for several days after the discharge. The steel plant went back online Wednesday.
The discharge also led to the closure of the Portage Riverwalk and Lakefront and beaches at the Indiana Dunes National Park. The park reopened its beaches Wednesday.