|SOTT | Apr 12, 2017 | Michael Hawthore|
"Steel mills and chrome plating operations are major industrial sources of hexavalent chromium, which testing nationwide shows already is routinely found in the water supplies of more than 200 million Americans, including millions in the Chicago area."
The spill of hexavalent chromium, reported Tuesday by the U.S. Steel Midwest Plant in Portage, prompted the neighboring Ogden Dunes community to shut off its drinking water intake and the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore to close four beaches as a precaution. Chicago conducted emergency testing of water drawn at an intake crib off 68th Street, about 20 miles across the lake from the spill, but found nothing unusual.
U.S. Steel said it appears a broken pipe joint allowed a still-undetermined amount of wastewater to spill into a ditch next to the plant, where steel forged at the nearby Gary Works is coated with hexavalent chromium and other rust-inhibiting materials.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said there was no immediate threat to Lake Michigan. But the spill draws renewed attention to a toxic metal made infamous by the movie Erin Brockovich.
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