Coast Guard: BP let 9 to 18 barrels of oil in lake

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — An initial assessment of a Lake Michigan oil spill shows between nine and 18 barrels of crude oil entered the lake following a malfunction at BP's sprawling northwestern Indiana refinery, a U.S. Coast Guard spokesman said today.

Coast Guard spokesman Chief Petty Officer Alan Haraf said the estimate comes from the Coast Guard's initial visual assessment Tuesday of the spill scene at BP's Whiting refinery some 20 miles southeast of downtown Chicago.

One barrel of oil contains about 42 gallons, meaning the estimate indicates between about 378 and 756 gallons of crude oil were released into the lake.

Haraf said a more accurate figure likely will be released later this week on how much oil entered the lake, where crews for BP continued their cleanup work today.

BP crews deployed absorbent booms after the spill and have been using vacuum trucks to suck up the corralled oil.

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