Indiana Oil Spill: Estimate Doubled, Survey Delayed

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On Monday afternoon, oil giant BP reported an oil spill had occurred in Lake Michigan due to a leak at its Whiting refinery in northwest Indiana.

The Indiana oil spill was reported to have been successfully contained by Monday evening.

Yesterday, the company more than doubled its estimates regarding how much crude oil has poured into the lake.

It is now believed that between 630 and 1,638 gallons of oil spilled into Lake Michigan.

The leak has been a major source of concern for millions of residents in the surrounding area as Lake Michigan is a source of drinking water for several million people.

Chief Petty Officer Alan Haraf, spokesman for the U.S. Coast Guard, told the Los Angeles Times that "the danger seems pretty low" with regard to drinking water contamination. He did say they could not say "for certain" whether or not this sentiment would change as the spill is examined more closely.

One major issue impeding more exact estimations regarding concerns has been the weather.

The Coast Guard intended to search for crude oil that had possibly been submerged off shore, however the effort has been delayed due to high winds and waves. The conditions made it simply too dangerous for members of the Coast Guard, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, or BP's assessment teams.

It's expected that the effort to better examine the extent of the Indiana oil spill will continue on Sunday.

The Coast Guard's statement as to the nature of the spill is said to closely echo the early findings of the EPA. The agency said earlier in the week that this particular spill posed no long term risks to the lake. Inspectors also stated they found minimal traces of oil on the shores.

The EPA had no comment regarding possible changes to their early determination based on BP's new estimations.

Despite concerns, this spill is far more tame than the Gulf of Mexico spill. That incident saw 4.9 million barrels of oil leak into the gulf.

Image via Wikimedia Commons

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