WHITING | The BP Whiting oil spill of March 24 has been declared cleaned up.
A team made up of representatives from the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and BP inspected the area Friday and determined no further cleanup is needed. The team originally planned to check the area Thursday but postponed it because of heavy rains and high water levels.
According to an announcement from the Ninth Coast Guard District, an inspection of the rocky shoreline on the southeast wall of the cover near the refinery determined the small areas of oily pebbles found Sunday had been removed by cleanup crews. Sunday's inspection found no evidence of oil on the bottom of the lake.
"As a result of the absence of sheen and oil from the water for several days, all of the boom was removed from the water Sunday with the exception of the small area surrounding the outfall of the water treatment facility of the refinery, site of the discharge" the Coast Guard said. "That section of the boom will remain in place until it is confirmed that no oil is in the refinery's cooling system."
Capt. Matt Sibley, commander of the Coast Guard Sector Lake Michigan and federal on-scene coordinator for the cleanup, said, "We take our job and responsibility of protecting the environment very seriously. Any amount of oil or other pollutants in the water concerns me deeply.
"I want to assure everyone, particularly the general public, the Coast Guard will continue to work very closely with BP and all agencies involved during these final stages," Sibley said.
Other agencies involved in the response included the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and U.S. Fish and Wildlife. It was estimated between 630 and 1,630 gallons of oil were discharged into Lake Michigan through the cooling system of the wastewater treatment plant because of a mechanical glitch.