Weather Hinders BP Oil Cleanup Operations
Weather conditions and safety concerns prohibited planned submerged surveying today near the BP Whiting Refinery at Lake Michigan, site of an oil discharge earlier this week.
An eight-member cleanup assessment team made up of members from the Coast Guard, the Environmental Protection Agency and BP contractors, was scheduled to conduct a comprehensive survey along the path of discharge in search of potentially submerged oil. However, high winds and waves created unsafe conditions for personnel and made taking underwater samples by boat too hazardous.
The weather conditions also prevented other members of the team from taking underwater samples closer to shore. Surveying is expected to resume on Sunday.
Earlier today, the assessment team walked the shoreline area immediately northwest of the refinery and found no oil contamination.
Saturday, the Coast Guard’s Federal On-scene Coordinator representative will be assisting the BP shoreline cleanup crew with identification and removal of the mixture of oiled pebbles, which was found on Thursday afternoon.
Sunday, cleanup operations will continue along with a formal survey by the assessment team on the rocky shoreline on the southeast end of the cove. If weather conditions permit, the submerged oil survey will be conducted.
“Although today’s weather conditions limited active cleanup operations, BP continues to ensure personnel in the field are following the assessment team's recommended cleanup techniques along the affected rocky shoreline," said Petty Officer 1st Class Jeremy Thomas, the Coast Guard Federal On-scene Coordinator representative and assessment team member.
“This response has progressed to a point that allows us to proactively engage the cleanup crew and assist them with identification of the oil pebble mixtures identified by the team. Following the team's survey yesterday, we were happy to see the sandy beach area free of oil and no sheen on the cove. We have, however, recommended continual monitoring of the beach area.”