BP Whiting refinery on Tuesday, March 25, 2014. | Christin Nance Lazerus~Sun-Times Media
Updated: May 2, 2014 6:35AM
No new oil has been found floating in Lake Michigan or at the bottom of a cove following further inspection Sunday of the spill site near the BP Refinery in Whiting, Ind.
Scott Dean, public information officer for BP, said the company’s Shoreline Cleanup Assessment Technique (SCAT) team was able to go out Sunday and did not find any crude oil in the area.
“They were actually searching the bottom of the cove for any submerged oil, and they did not find any. There has been no new oil found over the weekend,” Dean said.
BP, the U.S. Coast Guard and the Indiana Environmental Protection Agency are continuing to monitor the spill area and have crews in place to address any oil should it be found. A Coast Guard helicopter returning from a separate mission conducted an overflight assessment of the area and did not observe any oil sheen on the water.
Crews have been on the site since March 24 when a leak caused by a malfunction in an oil processing unit pumped between 15 and 39 barrels (between 630 and 1,638 gallons) of crude oil into Lake Michigan.
Sunday efforts by the SCAT team focused on the southeast rocky wall of the cove near the refinery to ensure that remaining small areas of soiled pebbles were removed. The team also reinspected the beach to see if the heavy surf had churned up additional oil on the shoreline.
The SCAT team was able to perform underwater testing as well Sunday. After taking more than 36 underwater probes, no sheening nor oil was found in or on the water, according to BP.
All of the oil absorbent boom has been removed from the site with the approval of the Coast Guard except in the area surrounding the outfall of the water treatment facility at the refinery, which was the source of the spill.
Officials and BP contractors will continue to monitor the beach and rocky shoreline until Thursday when a final survey may be done by the assessment team.