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Indiana Water Facility Restarts After Brown Discharge From US Steel Went Into Lake Michigan

OGDEN DUNES, Ind. (CBS/AP) -- 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 says it restarted its Ogden Dunes treatment facility Sunday after water sampling results confirmed the discharge did not impact its Lake Michigan water source.

The precautionary shutdown began Sept. 26 after the U.S. Steel Midwest plant in Portage sent a rusty colored plume containing high levels of iron into the Burns Waterway.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said last week preliminary sampling results showed the discharge presented no public health threat.

The brown cloud in Lake Michigan near Portage, Indiana came from "high levels of iron" discharged from a nearby U.S. Steel plant over the weekend.

That's according to findings from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) looking at the discoloration that closed down all the beaches at the Indiana Dunes National Park.

The Indiana Department of Environmental Protection (IDEM) said the preliminary sample showed the reddish-orange cloud was caused by "high levels of iron" and the samples showed the discharge was "below the numeric effluent discharge limits contained in US Steel's NPDES permit."

The environmental agency said "surface water samples taken near the US Steel outfall do not indicate any health risks for people who may come into direct contact with the water along the Portage River Walk."

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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