Industrial Safety

Indiana state regulators seek penalties against U.S. Steel for Clean Water Act violations

By Lauren Cross, for

Nov 20, 2017

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State environmental regulators now say they are seeking penalties against U.S. Steel following April’s illegal discharge of hexavalent chromium at its Midwest plant and a more recent, second illegal wastewater discharge in late October for which the company sought “confidential treatment.”

The Indiana Department of Environmental Management also told The Times last week the agency and its federal partners are “currently negotiating an agreement in principle with U.S. Steel … to be embodied in a federal consent decree that will address violations of the Clean Water Act.”

The news of potential penalties comes just days after the University of Chicago’s Abrams Environmental Law Clinic put the Pittsburgh-based company on notice of its intent to sue on behalf of the nonprofit Surfrider Foundation because of repeated violations of the Clean Water Act.

The threat of a legal challenge centers on the Portage facility’s permit to discharge wastewater into the Burns Waterway, a small industrial ditch which empties directly into Lake Michigan not far from a recreational spot used by area surfers.

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