Lake Michigan BP Oil Spill May Affect Chicago Shoreline
March 2nd, 2016
A malfunction at an Indiana refinery led to a BP oil spill in Lake Michigan just miles from the iconic Chicago shoreline. A BP spokesman told reporters that cleanup crews were isolating the oil in a small cove near the Indiana facility. The spokesman also revealed that crews were using vacuum trucks to remove the oil from the large fresh-water lake. While this spill does not have the scope or potential for disaster as the Deepwater Horizon BP oil spill of 2010, federal and state officials are still keeping a close watch on the situation.
Details of the Lake Michigan BP Oil Spill
Observers at the Whiting, Indiana, refinery reported the BP oil spill Monday afternoon. Crews quickly deployed plastic booms, devices designed to absorb and contain oil spills. A press statement from the oil giant revealed that the BP oil spill originated from “an upset at a crude distillation unit may have sent crude oil into the refinery’s cooling water outfall and then into the lake.” The statement also mentioned that the company has taken measures to prevent another discharge of crude oil into the lake.
Will BP Oil Spill Threaten Chicago?
The Whiting BP oil spill occurred less than 25 miles from downtown Chicago. Mike Beslow, an official for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s local office, was on the scene at the BP oil spill. He told reporters that “there is oil on the beach” and that cleanup efforts are “being addressed.” He also stated that the oil spill was not expected to contaminate any municipal water supplies, either for the City of Chicago or for the Chicagoland suburbs.
Weather Patterns Contain BP Oil Spill
A company spokesman told reporters that weather patterns were keeping the BP oil spill residue isolated near a half-mile stretch of shoreline near the Whiting refinery. The affected area is owned by the company and is part of the Whiting facility, as it uses the lake’s fresh water as part of its cooling processes. The spokesman said that residue from the BP oil spill is “not moving around freely” and that the “weather and the geography of the lakefront” are working together to keep the spill contained.
EPA Watches BP Oil Spill
Federal and state environmental agencies are keeping a close eye on the BP oil spill. Dan Goldblatt, a spokesman for the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, stated that an official with his agency had reported “a large sheen on the lake” early Tuesday morning. Susan Hedman, the EPA regional administrator, told reporters that BP had reported the spill to the agency when workers saw a sheen of oil that covered more than 5,000 square yards of the lake’s surface. She also said that the EPA has launched its assessment of what happened to cause this BP oil spill.
Source: Wisconsin Gazette
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