U.S. Steel has just released the details of their plans to clean up an underground benzene plume that has been seeping into Lake Michigan from the company’s Gary Steel Works. Benzene levels in the groundwater were up to 600 times the federal drinking water limit.
Though the exact source and of the benzene is difficult to pinpoint, many speculate that it came from an abandoned "tank farm" at a demolished coke plant formerly located on the seven mile long property.
U.S. Steel says it is already installing 11 specially designed 65 foot deep wells that will pump groundwater to the surface where a vacuum and catalytic oxidizer will allegedly burn 99 percent of the pollutant.
Benzene is a virulently cancerous organic compound. Industry’s wide use of benzene, from the undustrial revolution to present day, has left a legacy of pollution, suffering, and death that has affected the lives of countless innocent bystanders. Benzene is associated with debilitating blood disorders like aplastic anemia, myelodysplastic syndromes, acute myeloid leukemia, and non-Hogkin’s lymphoma, among others.