Dangerous chemical spill in Northwest Indiana shuts down beaches

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The National Park Service has closed a third beach along the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore following a nearby toxic wastewater spill.

The Park Service said Wednesday it closed Cowles Bog Beach based on a recommendation that all beaches within three miles of the spill site be closed as a precaution to protect park visitors.

The agency closed the national lakeshore’s West Beach and the Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk beach sites Tuesday following the spill at U.S. Steel’s Portage, Indiana, plant. It says all three beaches will remain closed indefinitely.

U.S. Steel says a pipe failure apparently caused a spill that released an unknown amount of wastewater containing a potentially carcinogenic chemical into a lake tributary.

The EPA says testing has detected none of that chemical, hexavalent chromium, in Lake Michigan.