The National Park Service has announced a third beach at the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore has been closed as a result of a hazardous chemical spill at a U.S. Steel plant in Portage. West Beach, the Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk sites and now Cowles Bog Beach are closed until further notice.
The NPS says the public trails in the Cowles Bog area will remain open.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has recommended that all beaches within a three-mile radius of the hexavalent chromium discharge be closed. As of Thursday, the EPA has not yet determined if the spill has been fully contained or how much of the chemical was released into Lake Michigan. The EPA says the spill has been stopped at its source and says it expects to receive results Friday morning from hundreds of tests over the last two days.
The National Park Service says it will reopen all beaches once independent testing and monitoring has found the hazardous risk is no longer present.
The EPA says preliminary data suggest hexavalent chromium from the spill is not present near drinking water intakes. You can connect to updates on the spill by clicking here.