A utility has restarted a northwest Indiana water treatment plant a week after it idled after a US Steel plant discharged iron-contaminated wastewater into an arm of Lake Michigan.
Indiana American Water said it restarted its Ogden Dunes treatment plant on Sunday after water sampling results confirmed that the discharge did not affect the Lake Michigan water supply.
The organization used water from the Gary treatment plant to meet its customers’ needs during the precautionary shutdown that began September 26 after the US Steel Midwest facility in Portage sent a rusty-colored smoke containing high levels of iron to the Burns Waterway.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said last week that preliminary sampling results show that the reddish-orange discharge from the steelmaker’s facility in Portage, about 30 miles east of Chicago, poses no public health threat.
The EPA and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management said they continue to investigate the cause of the discharge, along with possible Clean Water Act compliance issues and environmental impacts.
US Steel closed its Portage plant for several days after the evacuation. The steel mill was back online on Wednesday.
The discharge also caused the closure of the Portage Riverwalk and Lakefront, and beaches in Indiana Dunes National Park. The park reopened its beaches on Wednesday.