Tuesday, April 3, 2018

U.S. Steel to pay $1.2 million for carcinogen spill

Len Boselovic reports for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette :

U.S. Steel would pay $1.2 million to federal and state regulators under a deal to settle environmental violations that occurred last April when massive amounts of highly toxic hexavalent chrominum were discharged into Lake Michigan from the steelmaker’s Midwest plant in Portage, Indiana.

The Pittsburgh steelmaker would pay $350,653 to cover the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s costs of responding to the April 11 incident and $300,621 fines to each the EPA and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, under the terms of a consent decree filed Monday in federal court in Hammond, Indiana.

The company would also pay $253,068 in damages and costs to the National Park Service, which had to close the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore because of the spill, and $27,512 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which also had to assess damages from the spill.

The incident closed beaches and prevented the water company serving Portage from taking water from the lake for its public customers.

Hexavalent chromium can cause lung cancer, irritate the nose, throat and lungs, and irritate or damage eyes and skin. The harmful chemical was the subject of the movie, “Erin Brockovich.”

Court records indicate the April 11 spill resulted in the release of nearly 300 pounds of the carcinogen, hundreds of times more than U.S. Steel was allowed to discharge.

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