U.S. Steel completes restart at Midwest Plant in Portage

20 April 2017

U.S. Steel announced it has restarted operations at its Midwest Plant in Portage, a week after a spill of the cancer-causing chemical hexavalent chromium into the Burns Waterway just hundreds of feet from Lake Michigan.

“The controlled, phased and highly monitored restart at our Midwest Plant, which began on Friday, April 14, is now complete," U.S. Steel said in a statement. "At present, we have encountered no additional issues. All water sampling and visual inspections performed during the restart process at and around the outfall where the process release occurred, within Lake Michigan, including the public water intake and adjacent shorelines, have shown no elevated hexavalent chromium levels.”

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency testing found the chemical was at less than the 2 parts per billion federal threshold in both Lake Michigan and the Burns Waterway tributary. The EPA agency said it was working toward setting up a long-term monitoring protocol.

U.S. Steel said it was looking at additional environmental safeguards at the Midwest Plant, a finishing facility in Portage that operates as part of Gary Works. The mill just east of the Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk makes tin, hot-dip galvanized, cold-rolls and electric lamination steel products for the automakers and other customers.

“We take all incidents very seriously and are fully committed to investigating additional corrective actions we can take to prevent a future occurrence," U.S. Steel said in the statement. "We remain committed to protecting the environment, to the communities in which we operate and to the safety of our employees.”