U.S. Steel dumps more toxic chromium near Lake Michigan, faces lawsuit

Six months after U.S. Steel dumped a plume of toxic metal into a Lake Michigan tributary, the company quietly reported another spill at the same northwest Indiana plant and asked state environmental regulators to keep it secret, according to newly released documents.

The 56.7 pounds of chromium released in late October by the company’s Midwest Plant was 89 percent higher than its water pollution permit allows over 24 hours, U.S. Steel revealed in a letter sent to the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.

A wastewater treatment system at the plant malfunctioned on the morning of Oct. 25, a problem that wasn’t noticed until the next day. Indiana officials were notified Oct. 27, according to the company’s letter, which is dated Oct. 31 and requested “confidential treatment” of the incident.

map: Location of chemical spill on Lake Michigan tributary - Tribune Graphics
Map: Location of chemical spill on Lake Michigan tributary – Tribune Graphics

Law students at the University of Chicago discovered the letter while tracking pollution violations at U.S. Steel and other factories on the southwest shore of Lake Michigan. The document tops a stack of evidence gathered by attorneys at the university’s Abrams Environmental Law Clinic for a lawsuit they are preparing that will accuse the Pittsburgh-based steel giant of repeatedly violating the federal Clean Water Act since 2011.

More about chromium and chromium 6 in water supplies:

New water tests in Houston find cancer-causing chromium 6

State toxicologist: Claim that North Carolina well water was safe was ‘scientifically untrue’

New Tests Reveal 15 out of 15 of Indiana’s Coal Ash Ponds Are Leaking

Removing Trace Metals From Stormwater at Industrial Hard Chrome Plating Facility

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U.S. Steel dumps more toxic chromium near Lake Michigan, faces lawsuit
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U.S. Steel dumps more toxic chromium near Lake Michigan, faces lawsuit
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6 months after US Steel dumped toxic metal (chromium) into a Lake Michigan tributary, the company reported a new spill & asked regulators to keep it secret.
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Chicago Tribune
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