BP Whiting refinery cleans up oil spill in Lake Michigan - Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

BP Whiting refinery begins cleaning up oil spill in Lake Michigan

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(Photo by FOX 32's Lisa Chavarria) (Photo by FOX 32's Lisa Chavarria)
WHITING, Ind. (FOX 32 News) -

BP spent all of Tuesday cleaning up after an undetermined amount of crude oil spilled into Lake Michigan.

"We've stopped the source and we've isolated what remains of the oil in this cove," said BP Spokesman, Scott Dean.

BP believed the oil came through its refinery's cooling system and into the water around 4:30p.m. Monday.

The company said the spill is now contained to this area in between the refinery's wastewater treatment plant and a nearby steel mill.

Crews have been working since then to collect the oil with lines of boom and manpower.

"We have crews that are able to use what are called vacuum trucks and just common hand tools and their own glove hands to pick up these small congeal droplets of oil and to put them into bags for disposal," Dean added.

The U.S. Coast Guard said Tuesday the spill covered about 5,000 square feet of water.

1st Class Petty Officer Jeremy Thomas with the U.S. Coast Guard is the Federal on scene coordinator.

"Mother nature helped out in this case which is common for the Great Lakes, really," Officer Thomas said. "The winds tend to blow everything on shore so it puts it in a place where it can be collected and maintained."

The Environmental Protection Agency also remained in Whiting monitoring the situation.

"BP will work with the EPA and the Coast Guard and we'll agree upon a clean up standard...and they will continue the clean up until they reach those goals," said E.P.A. on scene coordinator, Mike Beslow.

Surfers just west of the spill didn't appear too concerned.

"It sounded like they have it all taken care of, I assume. And nothing seemed any dirtier than normal today," said David Owens.

BP hasn't released how much oil spilled into the lake, but expected to release more information as early as Wednesday.

The company said its crews will remain in Whiting until everything is cleaned up.

The Coast Guard and the EPA will be on site Wednesday morning with a shoreline cleanup assessment team to look at the impact.

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