BP Must Provide Details Behind Lake Michigan Oil Spill

Posted at 10:36 PM, Apr 03, 2014
and last updated 2014-04-03 22:51:44-04

Cleanup crews deploy boom near refinery to recover crude oil

WHITING, Ind. — Lake County’s surveyor has asked BP for a full accounting of a March 24 crude oil spill into Lake Michigan.

It’s been 10 days since BP’s Whiting Refinery released as much as 1,638 gallons of crude oil-tainted cooling water into Lake Michigan after a mechanical problem at the refinery.

According to The Times of Whiting, county surveyor Bill Emerson Jr., whose office oversees stormwater drainage, said he sent BP a letter requiring the company to respond with “the amount and type of oil that was discharged into Lake Michigan last week along with the physical and chemical properties fo the oil discharged and the source data and calculations used to determine the amount discharged.

“Also, when completed, please forward my office a copy of your internal investigation and any external investigations into this matter, including your detailed plans to avoid discharges in the future.”

The malfunction occurred at the refinery’s largest distillation unit, the centerpiece of a $4 billion overhaul that allowed BP to process more heavy Canadian oil from the tar sands region of Alberta. The unit, which has resumed normal operations, performs one of the first steps in the refining of crude oil into gasoline and other fuels.

Lake Michigan is the source of drinking water for 7 million people in Chicago and its suburbs.