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Second Spill Reported At U.S. Steel In Past Two Weeks, Nearby Beaches Closed Again

CHICAGO (CBS) -- For the second time in less than two weeks, there has been a spill at the U.S. Steel plant in northwest Indiana, forcing a shutdown of the facility, and closing off access to Lake Michigan at nearby beaches.

"This morning, we identified a sheen in the Burns Waterway outside of our Midwest Plant. We have shut down the rolling mills, as we investigate. The sheen has been contained by an existing boom, and vacuum trucks are removing any accumulation. At this time the leak appears to be contained and we are not observing any sheen outside the boomed area," U.S. Steel spokeswoman Amanda Malkowski said in a statement to CBS 2.

It was not immediately clear what caused the spill, or what the contents were.

The company said it is working with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, and has notified "other relevant authorities" as they work to clean up the spill.

According to the Times of Northwest Indiana, the Indiana Dunes National Park has closed access to Lake Michigan off the Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk, and nearby Ogden Dunes also has shut off access to the lake from its beach.

There was also a spill from the U.S. Steel plant on Sept. 26, causing a large brown cloud in the lake, which also shut down access to the lake from nearby beaches.

That spill came from "high levels of iron" discharged from the plant, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

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 water samples did not indicate any health risks for people who might have come into contact with the water near the U.S. Steel plant after the earlier spill.


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