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U.S. Steel Midwest Plant on the shore of Lake Michigan, with the Indiana Dunes Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk Trail in the foreground, in 2019. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

The Chicago Department of Water Management is calling on the EPA to make protection of Lake Michigan from industrial pollution a priority after U.S. Steel’s Midwest Plant experienced two leaks in two weeks into a waterway that feeds into the region’s source of drinking water.

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U.S. Steel Midwest Plant on the shore of Lake Michigan, with the Indiana Dunes Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk Trail in the foreground, in 2019. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

For the second time in two weeks, Indiana Dunes National Park has had to close its beaches due to an unknown substance leaking into the water along its Portage shoreline. 

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U.S. Steel Midwest Plant on the shore of Lake Michigan, with the Indiana Dunes Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk Trail in the foreground, in 2019. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

The Environmental Protection Agency confirmed the “reddish-orange discharge” that poured into Lake Michigan on Sunday from a steel plant in Portage, Indiana, was caused by high levels of iron, and says there’s no indication of health risks for people who may come into direct contact with the water.

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U.S. Steel Midwest Plant on the shore of Lake Michigan, with the Indiana Dunes Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk Trail in the foreground, in 2019. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

U.S. Steel is reporting that a “rusty colored” discharge that poured into Lake Michigan on Sunday from its plant in Portage, Indiana, was due to elevated iron levels.

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Indiana Dunes National Park, with various industrial plants in the background, in 2019. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

Officials from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management are investigating a “rusty colored liquid” discharged from the U.S. Steel plant in Portage, spotted Sunday evening in the Burns Waterway.

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A man rides a bike along a wave-battered lakefront in Chicago on Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021. (WTTW News)

The National Weather Service is warning people to steer clear of parks, trails, piers and breakwaters Wednesday and Thursday, with waves as high as 18 feet and wind gusts up to 45 miles per hour in the forecast.

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A Chicago beach sign warns people against swimming or diving in Lake Michigan. (WTTW News)

Safety officials are reminding Chicagoans that even if it still feels like summer, the lakefront’s beaches are now closed for the season to swimming, with lifeguards no longer present along the shoreline. So far in 2021, 38 people have drowned in Lake Michigan.

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Are safety signs enough? Some activists are calling for life rings along the lakefront. (WTTW News)

CEO Mike Kelly’s announcement reverses the city’s longstanding argument that life rings along the waterfront would encourage people to enter the water and put themselves at risk of injury or death — and make the city liable.

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A sign on the Chicago lakefront warns people to avoid potentially dangerous areas, such as piers. (WTTW News)

After recent drownings in Lake Michigan, activists have been clamoring for the Chicago Park District to install life rings along the lakefront, but the agency’s safety plan reinforces messaging surrounding “not safe to swim” locations.

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A piece of Lincoln Park's history can be found in Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve in suburban Darien is roughly 30 miles and a world away from downtown Chicago, but this is where a section of the city’s prized lakefront once rested. 

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A life ring installed on the lakefront by Rogers Park activist Jim Ginderske. (Credit Halle Quezada / Twitter)

After a drowning in Lake Michigan near a Rogers Park beach earlier this month, longtime community activist Jim Ginderske decided to take action in the name of public safety. Now, a local alderperson is joining the effort.

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As only one of two former fireboats that offer tours in the U.S., Fred A. Busse is a piece of Chicago history. (WTTW News)

A modified version of the city’s Air and Water show is flying over Lake Michigan this weekend, and arts correspondent Angel Idowu knows just where to take in the aerial views — from Lake Michigan of course. She introduces us to a boat tour packed with Chicago facts. 

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Water safety advocates want flotation devices like life preserver rings or life buoys made available throughout the lakefront. (WTTW News)

Lake Michigan is one of Chicago’s biggest attractions. And while it’s scenic, it’s also sometimes dangerous. What water safety advocates are proposing to stop people from drowning and dying in the lake.

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In this file photo, high waves create hazardous conditions along Lake Michigan. (WTTW News)

Coastal repairs and climate change mitigation are a huge concern for cities around the Great Lakes region. The group behind a new survey calls on the American and Canadian governments to fund local efforts to address these issues.

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Lake Michigan waves cover Chicago’s lakefront path in the summer of 2019. (WTTW News)

Because Chicago is situated in the middle of the country it would, at first glance, appear to be insulated from the worst effects of climate change. But a much-talked about report from environmental journalist Dan Egan pours cold water on that myth. He joins us with details.

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Dan O’Conor, the “Great Lake Jumper,” makes his 365th leap into Lake Michigan, Saturday, June 12, 2021, in Chicago’s Montrose Point. (AP Photo / Shafkat Anowar)

Dan O’Conor said he started jumping into the lake at Montrose Harbor on the city’s North Side last year to relieve stress.