Posts Tagged ‘LAKE MICHIGAN’

‘Multiple Indiana beaches have been shut down following a spill of wastewater containing hexavalent chromium, a highly toxic chemical linked to cancer. The United States Steel company reported the leak occurred on Tuesday due to equipment failure at its Portage, Indiana, plant, a lapse that “resulted in a chemical leak into the waterway that forced the shutdown of a drinking water intake along Lake Michigan and several nearby beaches,” the Northwest Indiana Times explained.

Local outlet The Indy Channel also documented the circumstances, acknowledging the release of hexavalent chromium into the water:

The USS Midwest Plant reported that they had a spill into the Burns Waterway Tuesday afternoon. The Environmental Protection Agency says the spill contained hexavalent chromium from the US Steel facility in Portage, Indiana.’

Read more: Cancer-Causing Chemical Spill 100 Yards From Lake Michigan Closes Beaches


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Cook Nuclear Plant reports 2-month oil leak into Lake Michigan

–2,000 gallons of oil leaked into lake 3 Jan 2014 An oil cooling system on the turbine of a southwest Michigan nuclear power plant leaked oil into Lake Michigan for about two months, according to plant officials. Officials with the Donald C. Cook Nuclear Plant near Bridgman reported the leak to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, as well as state and local authorities, on Dec. 20, according to an event notification posted on the NRC’s website. Plant officials believe 2,000 gallons of oil leaked into the lake, and a retroactive examination of system oil levels leads plant personnel to believe the leak may have been ongoing since about Oct. 25, said Bill Schalk, communications manager for the Cook Nuclear Plant.

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Is it conventional crude or tar sands? That is the question. And it’s one with high stakes, to boot. 

The BP Whiting refinery in Indiana spilled between 470 and 1228 gallons of oil (or is it tar sands?) into Lake Michigan on March 24 and four days later no one really knows for sure what type of crude it was. Most signs, however, point to tar sands. 

The low-hanging fruit: the refinery was recently retooled as part of its “modernization project,” which will “provide Whiting with the capability of processing up to about 85% heavy crude, versus about 20% today.”

As Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) Midwest Program Director Henry Henderson explained in a 2010 article, “heavy crude [is] code for tar sands.”

Albeit, “heavy crude” is produced in places other than Alberta’s tar sands, with Venezuela serving as the world’s other tar sands-producing epicenter. So, in theory, if it’s heavy crude that spilled into Lake Michigan, it could be from Venezuela.

But in practice, the facts on the ground tell a different story. As a January 2014 article in Bloomberg outlined, the combination of the U.S. hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) boom and the Canadian tar sands boom has brought U.S. imports of Venezuelan oil to 28-year lows.

Which brings us to the next question: how does the Canadian “heavy crude” get to BP‘s Whiting refinery to begin with? Enter: Enbridge’s Line 6A pipeline.

Alberta Clipper/Line 6A

Dan Goldblatt, a spokesman for the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, told DeSmogBlog he wasn’t sure what type of oil was spilled into Lake Michigan from the BP Whiting refinery  — which goes back to why it’s just being referred to as “oil” at this point by officials.

Goldblatt said the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will be looking into it as part of its investigation.

“Right now they’re more focused on recovery than on what type of oil it is,” Goldblatt said. “That’s a little further down the line.”

When asked about which pipeline feeds the BP Whiting refinery beast, Goldblatt told DeSmogBlog it’s Enbridge’s Line 6A pipeline.

Enbridge Line 6A; Map Credit: Enbridge

Part of Enbridge’s “Lakehead System,” Line 6A stretches from Superior, Wis., to Enbridge’s Griffith/Hartsdale holding terminal in northwest Indiana.

“Lakehead System serves all the major refining centers in the Great Lakes…through its connection with the affiliated Canadian pipeline,” explains Enbridge’s Lakehead System website. “Total deliveries on the Lakehead System averaged 1.65 million [barrels per day] in 2009, meeting approximately…70 percent of the refinery capacity in the greater Chicago area.”

Enbridge’s Line 67 (AKA Alberta Clipper) pipeline serves as the corridor between Alberta’s tar sands and Line 6A. Alberta Clipper currently awaits a capacity expansion permit from the U.S. State Department, which it applied for in November 2012 and needs because it’s a U.S.-Canada border-crossing line.

It was originally approved by President Barack Obama’s State Department in August 2009.

If approved, Line 67′s expansion would morph it from a 450,000 barrels per day pipeline to a 570,000 barrels per day pipeline. Its “full design capacity is 880,000 [barrels per day] of heavy crude oil,” (emphasis mine) according to the expansion application it submitted to the State Department.

Map Credit: U.S. Department of State

Hydrocarbon Technologies, which offers “market insight tools covering all segments of the global hydrocarbons market,” also points to the ties that bind Alberta’s tar sands, Enbridge’s Line 6A and the BP Whiting refinery.

“Once the modernisation project is complete, BP aims to increase the use of Canadian crude from oil sands via the Enbridge [Line 6A] pipeline, which runs from Alberta to Illinois,” explains Hydrocarbon Technologies.

In 2010, Line 6A spilled in a major way in Romeoville, Ill., with 6,050 barrels of oil escaping. An account in oil and gas industry trade publication PennEnergy explains the pipeline was carrying “heavy crude oil.”

“When the leak occurred, the Line 6A was transporting approximately 459,000 barrels per day of heavy crude oil,” the reporter detailed.

The “Dilbit Disaster” Connection

Line 6A is connected to the 2010 spill of over 843,000 gallons of tar sands into the Kalamazoo River, a Lake Michigan tributary. Literally.

When oil arrives at Enbridge’s Griffith, Ind., terminal from Line 6A, much of it continues northeast on the connecting Line 6B pipeline.

Map Credit: Enbridge

That line was the one responsible for the “dilbit disaster,” as coined by InsideClimate News, because it was carrying tar sands diluted bitumen, or “dilbit.” More than three years after that spill, clean up efforts are still ongoing.

“Tar Sands Name Game”

After the 2010 Kalamazoo River, the same debate over what type oil had spilled ensued. Chicago-based investigative journalist Kari Lydersen coined it the “tar sands name game.”

“[L]inguistic gymnastics around the definition of tar sands have a long history,” she wrote. “Industry officials have sought to avoid the increasingly negative connotations of tar sands extraction, which has a devastating effect on boreal forests and produces huge carbon emissions.”

And of course, it’s called “heavy crude” for a reason: it’s heavy. That means it can and will sink in freshwater sources like Lake Michigan or the Kalamazoo River. It did just that in Kalamazoo, making it exceedingly difficult to clean up.

With a drinking water source for seven million people at stake, this “tar sands name game” is one with high stakes indeed.

original link

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Inspectors find radioactive leak at Entergy nuclear plant

16 May 2013 U.S. inspectors have found the source of a [radioactive] water leak that forced the shutdown of Entergy Corp.’s Palisades Nuclear Power Plant is on the Lake Michigan shoreline. The inspection has turned up a crack about half-inch-long around a nozzle. New Orleans-based Entergy idled the plant May 5 , 2013, after operators found a tank leaking faster than regulations allow. Some slightly [?] radioactive water entered Lake Michigan, but the Nuclear Regulatory Commission says there’s no health risk.

[‘Slightly radioactive.’ Is that like being ‘a little bit pregnant?’]

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Radioactive water released into Lake Michigan before Palisades nuclear plant shutdown Sunday

06 May 2013 Before Sunday’s shutdown of Palisades Nuclear Power Plant, about 79 gallons of diluted [?!?] radioactive water were released into Lake Michigan, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said Monday, May 6. The cause of the increase in volume of leaking water is unknown, according to an event report Palisades filed with the NRC. “The licensee has been operating with SIRW leakage at a rate of less than 34 gallons per day. The leakage has increased for unknown reasons to a calculated value of approximately 90 gallons per day,” the report stated. The plant began the shutdown at 1:12 a.m. Sunday after the tank was declared inoperable.

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English: Photo of Palisades Nuclear Plant

English: Photo of Palisades Nuclear Plant (Photo credit: Wikipedia)




16 Feb 2013 The Palisades nuclear power plant in southwestern Michigan has been shut down for repairs after workers spent several days trouble-shooting its cooling water heat exchanger system. The plant was disconnected from the state’s electrical grid just before 5 p.m. Friday. There was no timetable given for the repairs at the plant along Lake Michigan’s shoreline in Covert Township. The plant, owned by New Orleans-based Entergy Corp., has been under extra scrutiny by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission after numerous safety issues and shutdowns.


Palisades Nuclear Plant Shuts Down Again


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Map of USA with Indiana highlighted

Image via Wikipedia

Although earthquakes are fairly common in the southwestern part of Indiana and occasionally happen along the edge of Lake Michigan, earth scientists say there has never been an earthquake confirmed in north central Indiana.

“Unprecedented,” said Walter Gray, an official with the Indiana Geological Survey, a research group at Indiana University.“There is no historical evidence of quakes in that area. We have no events that have been recorded.”

Seismologist Michael Hamburger, an IU professor of geological sciences, called north central Indiana “a really quiet corner of the seismic world.”

“This is an interesting little peculiar earthquake that happened in a strange place,” Hamburger said of Thursday’s quake. “It is a reminder that earthquakes can happen almost anywhere in the central U.S.”

The southern half of Indiana, which includes the Wabash Valley Fault System, is more prone to quakes. There was a 3.8 magnitude quake as close as Shelbyville in 2004. The last major quake centered in Indiana was a 4.6 magnitude earthquake near Evansville in June 2002, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

What is the Sharpsville Fault?

Indiana Geological Survey Director John Steinmetz thinks the Sharpsville Fault, which is named after the Indiana city, and runs between Tipton and Howard counties, may have played a role in Thursday’s quake. If so, it would be a first for the Sharpsville Fault. There is no record of it ever being related to an earthquake. The fault is 13 miles long, relatively short for a fault, Steinmetz said, and it was last active geologically about 360 million years ago.


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An ice covered tree in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Image via Wikipedia

01 Feb 2011 NASA is calling the storm exploding over in the Midwest “one of the largest winter storms since the 1950s.” Here are some Twitter reports aggregated from a variety of sources, illustrating the power, severity and danger of this historic winter storm: CNNweather: The 13.2″ measured in Tulsa breaks the 1-day record, and breaks the record for most snow during the month of February, all in 1 day. TWCBreaking: An incredible 5″ of snow [fell] in 90 minutes in Miami, OK JimCantore: Radar from Chicago shows intense area of 2″ to 3″ per hour snowfall rates about 45 minutes south of Chicago metro area [6:30 p.m. ET].

LINK: Amazing reports about massive Midwest storm

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The Great Lakes

Image by caribb via Flickr

They’re branding it a “sewage crisis” in the Great Lakes.

A new study has found that five cities — including Buffalo — dumped 41 billion gallons of untreated sewage and dirty storm water into the Great Lakes last year.

How much is 41 billion gallons? That’s how much water flows over Niagara Falls in a 15-hour period.

Discharges happen when heavy rains overwhelm storm and sanitary sewers, as many local residents know firsthand. After torrential downpours, people are often discouraged from swimming in some local waterways.

“We want to be able to swim, and we’re not going to take excuses anymore,” said Julie O’Neill, executive director of Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper.

Solving the problem will cost communities along the Great Lakes $23.3 billion. Locally, the Buffalo Sewer Authority may have to spend as much as $500 million to eliminate all sewage overflows, according to the report, which was authored by the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition.

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BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (Detroit Free Press) – Battle Creek area residents are being warned to stay away from the Kalamazoo River because of a major oil spill.

An estimated 840,000 gallons of oil leaked into a creek Monday that feeds into the river.

Area media were reporting that odor from the spill hung heavy over Battle Creek this morning.

“It is unknown at this time how far the spill has traveled and exactly what areas have been affected. It is assumed due to the current level of the Kalamazoo River and the speed of the current that the entire Emmett Township area and beyond has been affected,” according to an advisory issued today by the Emmett Township Public Safety Department.


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