More oil than previously estimated has spilled from a BP refinery into Lake Michigan this week, the company said in a statement Thursday.
By Thursday, crews recovered the “vast majority” of oil that was visible on the surface of the lake, according to the company. BP was then able to provide the U.S. Coast Guard and Environmental Protection Agency with an estimate of between 15 and 39 barrels (a maximum of 1,638 gallons) of oil recovered. That’s more than double the company’s previous estimate of nine to 18 barrels.
Until Thursday, an unknown amount of oil had leaked from BP’s refinery in Whiting, Ind., into Lake Michigan because of a mechanical glitch on Monday. As a result, crude oil discharged from the refinery into the lake’s cove.
The first, lower estimate, provided upon request by federal authorities, was based on the visual observation of the water’s surface, BP spokesperson Scott Dean said in the statement. Once crews conduct a complete analysis of the incident, BP will release a final estimate on the spill.
The EPA is conducting an investigation into the spill, according to the Chicago Tribune. And Illinois Sens. Dick Durbin (D) and Mark Kirk (R) are requesting a meeting with BP’s American CEO John Minge.
There were no injuries from the incident. But the lake is a drinking source for millions of Chicago residents. Drinking water has reportedly not been affected.