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U.S. Steel to close 2 hazardous waste sites in Gary

Updated: April 23, 2013 2:23PM



GARY — U.S. Steel is closing two of its hazardous waste units at the Gary Works property.

The company detailed updates on hazardous waste management at its Community Involvement Team Effort (CITE) open house Thursday afternoon at Indiana University Northwest.

U.S. Steel completed efforts to remove waste and impacted slag bottom from the east and west lagoons in 2012. The excavated material was disposed of in an on-site Corrective Area Management Unit (CAMU). Then the former lagoons were backfilled and seeded. U.S. Steel is required to conduct groundwater monitoring for two years before closure of the hazardous waste treatment unit is complete.

U.S. Steel submitted a closure plan for the second unit — hazardous waste disposal unit No. 2 and refuse area — which the Indiana Department of Environmental Management approved with modifications in December. The proposal would partially solidify and stabilize the waste and install a cover over the entire landfill and most of the refuse area. The rest of the refuse area would be covered by geotextile, a polyethylene liner, slag sand and vegetation. IDEM and U.S. Steel are still working to resolve some technical issues of the plan, which will likely start this year.

In October, U.S. Steel completed the second extended pilot test of the evaporative spray system at the CAMU. The intent of the system is to eliminate discharge into the Grand Calumet River, which is just south of the CAMU. The system helps water percolating through the waste material to stay within the CAMU and it evaporates rather than discharging into the river. U.S. Steel plans to continue the system, pending approval of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

CITE meetings have undergone a change in format, which has been disappointing to Charlotte Read and Lin Kaatz Chary. It used to feature a roundtable with participants from U.S. Steel and other organizations asking questions. Now, different portions of the corrective action program are explained at various tables, where U.S. Steel employees answer questions.

U.S. Steel spokeswoman Courtney Boone said the new format has been used for several years on the company’s permitting efforts and it’s worked well so far.

“We get great feedback,” she said. “We’ve used it at meetings in Minnesota and Pennsylvania.”

Chary of the Indiana Toxics Action Program said she preferred the old format because all participants were able to hear all the questions and answers.

“This is not a CITE meeting from my perspective,” Chary said.

Read said there was more interaction with the older format.

Fred Harnack, general manager of environmental affairs at U.S. Steel, said two more CITE meetings are scheduled this year — likely in June and October — and organizers will consider their concerns.



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