The US Coast Guard informs that weather conditions improved overnight enabling clean up operations and assessment activities to progress near the BP Whiting Refinery in Whiting, Indiana.
High winds and heavy surf created unsafe conditions for contractors and assessment team personnel both Friday and Saturday, suspending activities. 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.
The assessment team, comprised of representatives from the Coast Guard, the Environmental Protection Agency, and contractors from BP, resumed assessing the southeast rocky wall of the cove near the refinery to ensure remaining small areas of oiled pebbles were removed by cleanup crews.
With the improved surf conditions, members of the assessment team were able to get underway on a BP Fire Department boat to conduct a comprehensive survey of the path of discharge in search of potentially submerged oil. Other members waded into the water closer to shore also conducting the submerged oil survey. After taking more than 36 underwater probes, the teams did not see any sheening or oil present in or on the water.
As a result of the absence of sheen and oil from the surface of the water for several days, the Coast Guard Federal On-Scene Coordinator representative recommended removing all of the boom with the exception of small area surrounding the outfall of the water treatment facility of the refinery, which was the source of the discharge. That section of boom will remain in place until it is confirmed that no oil is in the refinery’s cooling system.
As a result of today’s surveys and progress, the Coast Guard, EPA and BP contractor recommend that the clean up contractors continue to monitor the beach and rocky shoreline to the southeast until Thursday, when a Determination of Clean Survey is conducted by the assessment team.