Indiana agency: Steelmaker too slow to act on chemical spill

PORTAGE, Ind. (AP) — The state environmental agency says a northwestern Indiana steel mill knew it was leaking dangerous chemicals into Lake Michigan but failed to report the spill or act quickly to mitigate the risks.

The cyanide and ammonia spill in August at the ArcelorMittal plant in Burns Harbor closed beaches and killed nearly 3,000 fish.

The Indiana Department of Environmental Management announced this week that the steel mill didn’t report the Aug. 4 malfunction for days, by which time ammonia-nitrogen levels in the water had spiked.

The department says the steelmaker committed seven permit violations and that fines are being determined.

The company, which has apologized for the spill, says it doesn’t fully agree with the department’s conclusions, but that it’s working with regulatory authorities to address the issues.

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