posttrib
FLAWLESS 
Weather Updates

Lake Surveyor wants BP oil spill reports

BP Whiting refinery Tuesday March 25 2014. | ChristNance Lazerus~Sun-Times Media

BP Whiting refinery on Tuesday, March 25, 2014. | Christin Nance Lazerus~Sun-Times Media

storyidforme: 64424351
tmspicid: 22977200
fileheaderid: 11150738
Article Extras
Story Image

Updated: June 12, 2014 12:48PM



Lake County Surveyor Bill Emerson Jr. wants to see for himself proof the region’s drinking water has not been contaminated as a result of the March 24 BP Whiting Refinery oil spill.

Emerson sent a letter Wednesday to John Minge, BP of America CEO, commending the company’s quick response to the spill of between 15 and 39 barrels of oil into Lake Michigan following a malfunction in an oil processing unit.

In his letter, Emerson said while the quick response was commendable, the fact that as much as 1,638 gallons of oil leaked into the lake just two miles from the Hammond Water Works intake was a “serious problem.”

“As devastating as your Deep Water Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico was, a much smaller spill in Whiting could have direct and devastating health effects on the people of Northwest Indiana,” Emerson wrote in the letter.

“If you were to contaminate our water supply, those contaminants would inevitably enter the waterways that I was elected to protect and I take that responsibility very seriously,” he continued.

Emerson has requested a full accounting of the amount and type of oil discharged into the lake as a result of the spill, along with the physical and chemical properties of that oil. He would also like the source data and calculations used to determine the amount discharged.

When completed Emerson would also like to see copies of both the internal and external investigations of the incident and detailed plans for how the situation will be avoided in the future.

Scott Dean, public information officer for BP, said he could not comment on the letter directly because it has not yet been received. He said the company will address the letter and its requests with the sender when it is received.

Dean said no new oil has been found at the site this week. The joint team made up of members from BP American and the U.S. Coast Guard took bottom samples earlier in the week and there was no evidence of any submerged oil.

Members of the Shoreline Cleanup Assessment Team will be back on Thursday to conduct additional inspections. Dean said the company will continue to follow the recommendations of the team and will be on-site until the team determines recovery efforts are complete.



© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit www.suntimesreprints.com. To order a reprint of this article, click here.