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EPA in Indiana

U. S. Steel Corporation Consent Decree – April 2018

The settlement agreement, which is memorialized in a consent decree lodged in federal district court in the Northern District of Indiana, requires U. S. Steel to undertake substantial measures to improve its wastewater processing monitoring system at its steel manufacturing and finishing facility, known as the Midwest Plant, in Portage, Indiana.  

Under the consent decree, in which the State of Indiana participated as well as the National Park Service and NOAA, U. S. Steel will undertake repairs to its treatment plant pipes and containment trench, whose failures contributed to the April 2017 spill of wastewater containing hexavalent chromium that entered a waterway that flows into Lake Michigan. In a more comprehensive manner, U. S. Steel will:

  • develop wastewater operations and maintenance plans and preventive maintenance plans
  • design and implement new wastewater process monitoring
  •  and sample daily for total and hexavalent chromium.

These measures are designed to allow for early detection of conditions that may lead to discharges such as the April 2017 spill and other permit violations, furthering compliance with the Clean Water Act and analogous state laws.  

The consent decree requires the company to pay more than $600,000 in civil penalties, and a total of $630,500 in government assessment and response costs and damages incurred as a result of the April 2017 spill. 

U. S. Steel will also resolve allegations under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) by implementing a detailed protocol to notify relevant state and local authorities about any future spills from its Portage facility to the ground or water.

The settlement, lodged on April 2, 2018, with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, is subject to a 60-day public comment period following notification in the Federal Register on April 6, 2018 (notice to extend the public comment period from 30 days to 60 days was published on April 18), and final approval by the court. The consent decree and other relevant documents are listed below.

Comments can be submitted by email to pubcomment-ees.enrd@usdoj.gov or by mail to:
Assistant Attorney General
U.S. DOJ—ENRD
P.O.Box 7611
Washington, D.C. 20044–7611

U.S. Steel Clean Water Act Settlement Resources

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