No more oil in latest survey of BP oil spill in Lake Michigan

Mar 31, 2014

The Coast Guard says crews didn't find any more oil during the latest search of the Lake Michigan shore following last week's spill at BP's northwestern Indiana refinery.

Last Monday, BP's oil refinery in Whiting, Indiana south of Chicago spilled crude oil into Lake Michigan. The company estimates the spill to be somewhere between 630 and 1,638 gallons. The oil made its way into the lake through a malfunction in the refinery's cooling system. 

Cleanup efforts began after the spill was discovered Monday night. The Coast Guard says cleanup activities were suspended over the weekend:

High winds and heavy surf created unsafe conditions for contractors and assessment team personnel both Friday and Saturday, suspending activities.

The conditions changed yesterday, and clean-up resumed. Here's a video of officials on the beach released by the Coast Guard:

The Coast Guard says they searched for submerged oil by boat and by wading into the water. The BP refinery processes heavier tar sands oil, which can sink in the water.

After taking more than 36 underwater probes, the teams did not see any sheening or oil present in or on the water.

As a result of the absence of sheen and oil from the surface of the water for several days, the Coast Guard Federal On-Scene Coordinator representative recommended removing all of the boom with the exception of small area surrounding the outfall of the water treatment facility of the refinery, which was the source of the discharge. That section of boom will remain in place until it is confirmed that no oil is in the refinery’s cooling system.

The Coast Guard, EPA and BP say cleanup and monitoring will continue until Thursday, when a "Determination of Clean Survey" will be done.