U.S. EPA begins sediment impacts investigation in Grand Calumet River area of concern

June 5, 2024
The U.S. EPA begins sediment impacts investigation in Grand Calumet River area of concern in Gary, Indiana.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will begin investigating sediment impacts in the Grand Calumet River Area of Concern in Gary, Indiana.

The EPA is investing more than $3 million in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) funding for the project in a cost-sharing partnership with United States Steel Corp.

The EPA and U.S. Steel will sample sediment and water from the Marquette Park Lagoons, Grand Calumet River channel and nearby wetlands. Sampling is expected to continue until early July and will help define the nature and extent of sediment impacts in the “Eastern 5 Miles” of the Grand Calumet River.

The Eastern 5 Miles of the Grand Calumet River flows adjacent to the 4,000-acre U.S. Steel Gary Works facility and has been subject to historical industrial and municipal discharges.

In 1998, the EPA began supervising a cleanup under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act to address pollutants including heavy metals, polyaromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs, and polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, which may impair beneficial uses of the water. U.S. Steel completed sediment dredging of the Eastern 5 Miles in the early 2000s.

Once sampling is completed, the EPA will make cleanup decisions aimed at restoring beneficial uses and the ecosystem’s health to support delisting of the Grand Calumet River as an Area of Concern.

The project will help to address multiple Area of Concern impairments including restrictions on fish and wildlife consumption, degradation of fish and wildlife populations, and fish tumors or other deformities. The project will also help address bird or animal deformities or reproduction problems, degradation of organisms living at the bottom of water bodies (benthos), and loss of fish and wildlife habitat.