March 28, 2014
BP today more than doubled its maximum estimate of how much crude oil spilled into Lake Michigan earlier this week from its Whiting refinery in Northwest Indiana.
In a statement, the company said a malfunction in a new distillation unit forced up to 39 barrels or 1,638 gallons of oil into the lake just across the Illinois border. A day earlier, the company had estimated that 18 barrels at most had been spilled.
BP said it based its latest estimate on the amount of oil collected by vacuum trucks and absorbent booms, along with an inventory of the waxy balls of oil that cleanup crews scoured from a beach on BP’s property. Strong winds appear to have pushed most of the oil toward a shallow cove between the refinery and an ArcelorMittal steel mill.