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Chemical spill closes two beaches at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and the Ogden Dunes Town Beach

Posted at 8:28 PM, Apr 11, 2017

PORTER, Ind. -- Two beaches at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and the Ogden Dunes Town Beach are closed until further notice because of a chemical spill from a nearby plant.  

The USS Midwest Plant reported that they had a spill into the Burns Waterway Tuesday afternoon. The Environmental Protection Agency says the spill contained hexavalent chromium from the US Steel facility in Portage, Indiana.

According to OSHA, hexavalent chromium is a toxic form of the element chromium. It can cause an allergic reaction when it comes in contact with the skin and can leave lesions. 

Because of the spill, the National Park Service closed the West Beach and the Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk sites. Ogden Dunes Town Beach has also been closed until further notice.

The National Park Service says people and their pets should avoid contact with the water of Lake Michigan or Burns Waterway in the West Beach and Portage Lakefront areas until further notice. 

The National Park Service is monitoring the situation and plans to provide an update on park closures after 10 a.m. Wednesday. 

The Ogden Dunes Plant is also closed, and all Ogden Dunes Water is currently coming from the Indiana American Water Company plant in Gary.

The nearest water source, the Indiana American Water in Ogden Dunes, has shut down its water intake and will use reserve water until Lake Michigan has been cleared.