the way we live

bp dumping in lake michigan


back on july 15 the chicago tribune broke the news that oil mega-monster bp obtained a permit from the state of indiana to dump “significantly more” toxic chemicals into lake michigan from their whiting, indiana oil refinery. initial statements claimed these toxins to be ammonia (54% more) and industrial sludge (35% more). as you can imagine this caused quite a stir in chicago and other neighboring cities along lake michigan. further tribune investigations discovered that not only has bp been dumping ammonia, industrial sludge, and suspended solids into lake michigan, but much higher than allowed mercury deposits as well.

“federal records analyzed by the tribune show bp puts 2 pounds of mercury into the lake every year from its sprawling plant 3 miles southeast of chicago in whiting, ind. that amount is small compared with the mercury that falls into the water from air pollution, but mercury builds up in the environment and is so toxic that even tiny drops can threaten fish and people.”

according to 1995 epa standards, bp’s mercury output should not surpass 8/100ths of a pound. not only is 2 pounds of mercury dumped annually significantly more than 1995 standards, it is plenty to threaten local fish and wildlife. and as stated above mercury is a toxin that accumulates through the food chain. my real question is, why is bp dumping any mercury at all? or any toxins for that reason? i can’t help but think william mcdonough’s cradle to cradle:

“to be less bad is to accept things the way they are, to believe that poorly designed, dishonorable, destructive systems are the best humans can do. the ultimate failure of the “be less bad” approach: a failure of the imagination. what about an entirely different model? what would it mean to be 100% good?”

1 August 2007 - Posted by | green, society


  1. I went to the website Chicago Reclamation District and the president calls swhat BP is putting into the lake sludge. This is kind of strange when he runs the same type of facility as BP’s and knows or atleast should know what sludge is. Let me say…water treatement plants do not dump sludge in the lake…that is called illegal. If BP is dumping so is every other water treatment facility…look at their data…I did and it opened my eyes.

    Also look how the Chicago Reclamation district describes sludge… “Many area golf courses, sod farms, tollway banks and parks are green and fertile because of the rich mixture of sludge and soil. In Fulton County, Illinois, the District is reclaiming 15,000 acres of land which were left barren and ugly from years of strip mining for coal. By leveling the land and enriching the soil with nitrogen, phosphorus and other nutrients in the sludge, wasteland has been converted to fertile ground for agricultural uses. This program is called the Prairie Plan.”

    Kind of amazing…he makes it sound like sludge is a great product…makes you wonder who is telling truths and who is just slinging sludge.

    I signed the petition and now I feel pretty much used by rhetoric. I am well educated. I guess I need to think some more. You let me down Tribune…you let me down Durbin…you let me down Emmanuel…you let me down my college buddies who convinced me to sign the hoopla.

    Watch out who you are believing. I have a feeling these talking heads have no clue what they are talking about…they just want your money and votes. It took me long enough to realize that and now that I have signed the da## petition my name is sludge.

    Steve R. Chicago North Sider

    Comment by Steve R | 10 August 2007 | Reply

  2. You claim you are well educated…then you should well know that you cannot trust other people to make your decisions for you. You let yourself down.

    Comment by seth | 23 January 2008 | Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: