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EPA in Indiana

ArcelorMittal Burns Harbor LLC, Portage, Indiana

The ArcelorMittal Burns Harbor (AMBH) facility is one of the largest fully integrated steel mills in North America, with the capacity to produce 5 million tons of raw steel per year. It operates under National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permit No. IN0000175, which was issued on May 27, 2016, and expires on June 30, 2021.

On August 11, 2019, AMBH suffered a pump failure on its blast furnace gas closed water recycle system, which required the facility to draw Lake Michigan water for use in the blast furnace gas air scrubbers. Since the pumps to recycle the air scrubber water were not functioning, the water became “once-through” water and the facility discharged many more millions of gallons than during normal operations. The once-through water could not be treated due to the high volume and flowed out of an outfall to the East Arm of the Little Calumet River.

Due to this pump failure, the Burns Harbor facility discharged cyanide and ammonia-nitrogen exceeding its NPDES permit limit. IDNR determined that 3,000 fish died in the East Arm of the Little Calumet River near the Portage Marina.  Ogden Dunes and the Indiana Dunes National Park closed beaches in the area and a nearby drinking water intake facility was closed.

AMBH monitored exceedances of its cyanide limit for five days and the ammonia-nitrogen limit for six days. The blast furnace gas closed water recycle system pumps were operational again on Aug. 15, 2019.

EPA and IDEM conducted inspections on August 22, October 1, 2019 and November 7-8,2019.

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