Grand Calumet River-Indiana Harbor Ship Canal

The Grand Calumet River is a 13-mile system that runs through the cities of Gary, Hammond, and East Chicago, Indiana. The east and west branches join at the Indiana Harbor Canal to flow into Lake Michigan. The east branch originates at the Marquette Park Lagoons in Gary and flows west towards Indiana Harbor Canal confluence in East Chicago. The west branch has the distinction of flowing both ways, depending on the level of water in Lake Michigan. Most of the time, the eastern half flows to the Indiana Harbor Canal. The western half of the branch flows west into Illinois until it merges with the Little Calumet River in Burnham to form the Calumet River.

The Grand Calumet River has long been recognized as one of the most contaminated rivers in the nation. With a history rich in steelmaking, meatpacking, and oil refining, a cocktail of heavy metalsPCBsPAHsNAPL, and oil and grease was discharged into the river before modern environmental controls were established. For more information about the Grand Cal, including plans and projects underway to restore it can be found at: