The U.S. Department of Justice says Pittsburgh-based United States Steel Corp. (NYSE: X) has agreed to pay more than $600,000 to cover U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and National Park Service costs associated with a chemical spill a year ago. Wastewater containing hexavalent chromium from the company’s Portage plant got to Lake Michigan via a nearby waterway and caused the closure of multiple beaches along the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.
U.S. Steel has also agreed to create a detailed notification protocol to notify state and local officials in the event of a future spill. Justice Department Environment and Natural Resources Division Acting Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Wood said "Lake Michigan and the surrounding waterways are treasured resources worthy of protection from harmful pollution. Today’s settlement with U. S. Steel appropriately penalizes the company for last year’s wastewater spill, recoups the government’s response costs and other losses, and requires significant actions by the company to prevent toxic spills like this from occurring again."
The company has also agreed to repair failed treatment plant pipes linked to the spill and develop what the federal government describes as "wastewater operations and maintenance plans and preventive maintenance plans, design and implement new wastewater process monitoring, and sample daily for total and hexavalent chromium." Costs of the incident include: $350,000 to the EPA, $27,500 to the NOAA and $253,000 to the NPS. You can view more about the action by clicking here.