BP Refinery Oil Spill Into Lake Michigan (VIDEO)

By Emma Koch - 21Alive

March 27, 2014 Updated Mar 27, 2014 at 10:25 AM EDT

INDIANA (21Alive) -- Officials say a malfunction at BP's Whiting Refinery in the northwestern part of the Hoosier state has released an undetermined amount of oil into Lake Michigan.

BP spokesperson, Dean Scott, says workers discovered Monday afternoon that oil had entered the refinery's cooling water system which discharges into the lake about 20 miles southeast of downtown Chicago.

He said BP crews have placed two booms in the water to contain the oil and as of Thursday, crews have recovered the vast majority of oil that had been visible on the surface. They have used vacuum trucks and absorbent boom to contain and clean up the surface oil. Responders also manually collected oil that had reached the shore.

BP continues to work to calculate the amount of oil discharged into the lake. This work involves estimating how much oil was released into the refinery’s cooling water system, water treatment plant and ultimately into the lake.

Monitoring continues in coordination with the U.S. Coast Guard, EPA and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management. BP and federal agencies are assessing the shoreline to determine what, if any, next steps are required in the response.

No word yet how it will impact gasoline prices.

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