BP Oil Spill in Lake Michigan

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Hundreds of gallons spilled into Lake Michigan from the Whiting Refinery on March 24, 2014. Photo courtesy of latimes.com

Hundreds of gallons spilled into Lake Michigan from the Whiting Refinery on March 24, 2014. Photo courtesy of latimes.com

On Monday, March 24, hundreds of gallons of oil spilled into Lake Michigan, which is a main source of drinking water for over seven million people.

The spill was caused by a malfunction in BP’s Whiting Refinery in northwest Indiana. The leak was reported that Monday afternoon and was fixed by 9 p.m. that night. It was first estimated that the spill was fewer than 800 gallons, but now that number has nearly doubled.

Shortly after the oil spill, BP released an estimated number of how many gallons of oil that leaked into Lake Michigan. BP’s spokesperson Scott Dean has released that the number could be nearly double of what they previously thought.

“We are committed to continuing to try to be more precise,” Dean said. “Whenever we find evidence of oil, we can recover it and add it to our tally.”

Dean explained how the estimated number of gallons leaked is at a wide range right now because of how long it takes to separate the oil from the water.

There has been a lot of help trying to get the spill cleaned up. The U.S. Coast Guard as well as the Federal Environmental Protection Agency has been helping with the clean- up process.

This spill is small in comparison to the 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, which was 4.9 million barrels.  This spill is estimated to be as much as 39 barrels. BP said that one barrel equals 42 gallons.

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