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> BP wants to pollute the lake-Thread, How much more pollution in the lake would you like?
Southsider2k12
post Jul 16 2007, 09:19 AM
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http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/chi...ll=chi-news-hed

QUOTE
BP gets break on dumping in lake
Refinery expansion entices Indiana

By Michael Hawthorne
Tribune staff reporter
Published July 15, 2007

The massive BP oil refinery in Whiting, Ind., is planning to dump significantly more ammonia and industrial sludge into Lake Michigan, running counter to years of efforts to clean up the Great Lakes.

Indiana regulators exempted BP from state environmental laws to clear the way for a $3.8 billion expansion that will allow the company to refine heavier Canadian crude oil. They justified the move in part by noting the project will create 80 new jobs.


Under BP's new state water permit, the refinery -- already one of the largest polluters along the Great Lakes -- can release 54 percent more ammonia and 35 percent more sludge into Lake Michigan each day. Ammonia promotes algae blooms that can kill fish, while sludge is full of concentrated heavy metals.

The refinery will still meet federal water pollution guidelines. But federal and state officials acknowledge this marks the first time in years that a company has been allowed to dump more toxic waste into Lake Michigan.

BP, which aggressively markets itself as an environmentally friendly corporation, is investing heavily in Canadian crude oil to reduce its reliance on sources in the Middle East. Extracting petroleum from the thick goop is a dirtier process than conventional methods. It also requires more energy that could significantly increase greenhouse gases linked to global warming.

Environmental groups and dozens of neighbors pleaded with BP to install more effective pollution controls at the nation's fourth-largest refinery, which rises above the lakeshore about 3 miles southeast of the Illinois-Indiana border.

"We're not necessarily opposed to this project," said Lee Botts, founder of the Alliance for the Great Lakes. "But if they are investing all of these billions, they surely can afford to spend some more to protect the lake."

State and federal regulators, though, agreed last month with the London-based company that there isn't enough room at the 1,400-acre site to upgrade the refinery's water treatment plant.

The company will now be allowed to dump an average of 1,584 pounds of ammonia and 4,925 pounds of sludge into Lake Michigan every day. The additional sludge is the maximum allowed under federal guidelines.

Company officials insisted they did everything they could to keep more pollution out of the lake.

"It's important for us to get our product to market with minimal environmental impact," said Tom Keilman, a BP spokesman. "We've taken a number of steps to improve our water treatment and meet our commitments to environmental stewardship."

BP can process more than 400,000 barrels of crude oil daily at the plant, which was built in 1889 by John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil Co. Total production is expected to grow by 15 percent by the time the expansion project is finished in 2011.

In sharp contrast to the greenways and parks that line Lake Michigan in Chicago, a string of industrial behemoths lie along the heavily polluted southern shore just a few miles away. The steady flow of oil, grease and chemicals into the lake from steel mills, refineries and factories -- once largely unchecked -- drew national attention that helped prompt Congress to pass the Clean Water Act during the early 1970s.

Paul Higginbotham, chief of the water permits section at the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, said that when BP broached the idea of expanding the refinery, it sought permission to pump twice as much ammonia into the lake. The state ended up allowing an amount more than the company currently discharges but less than federal or state limits.

He said regulators still are unsure about the ecological effects of the relatively new refining process BP plans to use. "We ratcheted it down quite a bit from what it could have been," Higginbotham said.

The request to dump more chemicals into the lake ran counter to a provision of the Clean Water Act that prohibits any downgrade in water quality near a pollution source even if discharge limits are met. To get around that rule, state regulators are allowing BP to install equipment that mixes its toxic waste with clean lake water about 200 feet offshore.

Actively diluting pollution this way by creating what is known as a mixing zone is banned in Lake Michigan under Indiana law. Regulators granted BP the first-ever exemption.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has been pushing to eliminate mixing zones around the Great Lakes on the grounds that they threaten humans, fish and wildlife. Yet EPA officials did not object to Indiana's decision, agreeing with the state that BP's project would not harm the environment.

Federal officials also did not step in when the state granted BP another exemption that enables the company to increase water pollution as long as the total amount of wastewater doesn't change. BP said its flow into Lake Michigan will remain about 21 million gallons a day.

In response to public protests, state officials justified the additional pollution by concluding the project will create more jobs and "increase the diversity and security of oil supplies to the Midwestern United States." A rarely invoked state law trumps anti-pollution rules if a company offers "important social or economic benefits."

In the last four months, more than 40 people e-mailed comments to Indiana officials about BP's water permit. One of the few supportive messages came from Kay Nelson, environmental director of the Northwest Indiana Forum, an economic development organization that includes a BP executive among its board of directors. She hailed the company's discussions with state and community leaders as a model for others to follow.

Nearly all of the other comments, though, focused on the extra pollution in Lake Michigan.

"This is exactly the type of trade-off that we can no longer allow," wrote Shannon Sabel of West Lafayette, Ind. "Possible lower gas prices (I'll believe that when I see it!) against further contamination of our water is as shortsighted as it is irrational."

---------

mhawthorne@tribune.com
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Southsider2k12
post Jul 17 2007, 09:45 AM
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Another case of "you heard it here first" smile.gif

http://thenewsdispatch.com/main.asp?Sectio...amp;TM=42955.42

QUOTE
Editorial

The administration of Gov. Mitch Daniels has signed off on a proposal by the massive BP refinery in Whiting to dump more toxic sludge and ammonia into Lake Michigan, effectively reversing decades of efforts to clean the lake.

The agreement, which has received the blessing of the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, allows British-owned BP to dump up to 1,584 pounds of ammonia and 4,925 pounds of toxic sludge into Lake Michigan every day. The company dumps some of that material into the lake now, but the new permit increases the amount of ammonia allowed by 54 percent and the amount of sludge by 35 percent.

While BP will remain within federal limits for this discharge, we feel increasing pollution is the wrong way to go.

Essentially, IDEM granted BP the increase in exchange for a $3.8 billion expansion and the creation of 80 new jobs so the 1,400-acre refinery can process Canadian crude oil, which is much dirtier than oil from the Middle East. BP also says it doesn't have the space to upgrade its water treatment plant, which sends 21 million gallons of water into the lake every day.

Still, the fact that more toxic material is being pumped into the lake is the wrong thing to do. Lake Michigan is where we get our drinking water and it's a playground for millions of people who boat, fish and swim there.

The irony of the announcement is that BP has been promoting itself in television advertising as an environmentally friendly company, a notion that has been completely erased with this decision.

In the 1960s, Lake Michigan was so polluted from material dumped there by steel mills and other industries that Congress passed the Clean Water Act in the 1970s. Ever since, Lake Michigan has gotten cleaner and more attention has been paid to what is dumped there.

In what has to be one of its most embarrassing decisions ever, IDEM granted BP its first exemption to its rules that bans precisely this kind of discharge into the lake.

BP should be ashamed that it continuing to pollute one of Indiana's most treasured natural resources and IDEM ought to be embarrassed it is allowing this kind of activity to take place.

Our Opinion
The Issue: Indiana agreed to allow BP to increase discharges of ammonia and sludge into Lake Michigan as it refines "dirtier" Canadian crude.

Our Opinion: After years of progress in reducing discharges of contaminants into Lake Michigan, the state has taken the unheard of step of allowing more pollutants in the lake's clear water.
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Max Main
post Jul 17 2007, 04:28 PM
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THIS IS AN OUTRAGE!
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Southsider2k12
post Jul 18 2007, 04:56 AM
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http://thenewsdispatch.com/main.asp?Sectio...amp;TM=26953.83


QUOTE
Sound Off! entry by: Jason Lukas

BP Dumping Sludge
Dear News Dispatch: Recognizing the impact to Lake Michigan this project would create, it is essential that IDEM and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reevaluate this decision immediately. The permit allows BP to dump 1500 pounds of ammonia and over 5,000 pounds of sludge into Lake Michigan daily. It is negligent for government officials and BP to subject northwest Indiana residents and the Great Lakes to the adverse effects caused by this degradation. In addition, an exemption allows BP to mix this toxic pollution with clean lake water in Lake Michigan a mere 200 ft. offshore. In this way, BP can bypass parts of the Clean Water Act. Rather than putting out more gallons of waste water, (already a monstrous 21 million gallons daily), BP will simply increase the concentration of discharge and mix it in our playground, drinking water, and greatest resource, Lake Michigan. This is a poor precedent that will revive an outdated mantra of industry – “dilution is the solution to pollution.” A choice to dilute says that IDEM and BP are thinking back to 1967 rather than looking ahead from 2007 to the future. I’m not against development in northwest Indiana, a place where the economy needs a significant boost and residents need jobs, but BP is getting a free pass to pollute Lake Michigan. That’s wrong and unnecessary. BP can afford to, and must, prevent this pollution from entering Lake Michigan, while honoring their very public commitment to environmental sustainability. For the sake of our Great Lakes, residents and wildlife alike, IDEM must reconsider its decision to allow a company that prides itself on eco-responsibility to engage in polluting practices of decades past. According to BP’s 2005 Environmental Statement for the Whiting Business Unit, the company will “conduct [group activities] in a manner that… is environmentally responsible with the aspiration of ‘no damage to the environment.’” Let’s hold them to their standards. Thank you for your time and your consideration. Sincerely, Jason Lukas Local Surfer and Concerned Citizen

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Southsider2k12
post Jul 18 2007, 05:00 AM
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http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/s...lssouthwest-hed

QUOTE
Legislators blast waiver for BP plant near lake

By Michael Hawthorne
Tribune staff reporter
Published July 18, 2007
Several Great Lakes lawmakers this week urged federal regulators to block a BP refinery near the Illinois-Indiana border from dumping significantly more ammonia and industrial sludge into Lake Michigan.

Reacting to a story in Sunday's Tribune, members of Congress from Illinois, Indiana and Michigan contacted the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, demanding to know why the agency stood idle while Indiana regulators approved the oil company's proposal.



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Chicago and the Chicago Park District, meanwhile, are planning to conduct a petition drive at beaches this weekend to encourage public opposition to BP's plans.

State officials exempted BP from Indiana environmental laws to clear the way for a $3.8 billion expansion, which will allow the Whiting, Ind., refinery to process more heavy Canadian crude oil. They justified the move in part by noting the project will create 80 new jobs.

Like most states, Indiana is authorized to administer the Clean Water Act and other federal environmental laws. The U.S. EPA frequently steps in to oversee permits and enforcement, but in this case the agency did not object to the state's decision.

The refinery already is one of the largest polluters on the Great Lakes, but under BP's new state permit it can release 54 percent more ammonia and 35 percent more sludge into Lake Michigan every day. Ammonia promotes algae blooms that can kill fish and trigger beach closings, while sludge contains concentrated heavy metals.

Federal and state regulators acknowledged this is the first time in years that a company has been allowed to dump more pollution into the lake, the source of drinking water for Chicago and dozens of other communities.

"We need to embarrass the BP leadership to do the right thing," U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) said Tuesday on WGN radio's "The Spike O'Dell Show." "In my book, BP, which tries to market itself as an environmentally friendly company, now stands for 'Bad Pollution.'"

Kirk and other lawmakers said they previously weren't aware of the BP permit. Among those demanding more information were U.S. Sens. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) and Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) and Reps. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.), Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.), Pete Hoekstra (R-Mich.) and Vernon Ehlers (R-Mich.).

Durbin sent a letter to top EPA officials in Washington citing, among other things, a Clean Water Act provision that prohibits any decline in water quality even if limits on pollution discharges are met. The amounts allowed under BP's new permit remain at or below federal guidelines.

"It's our responsibility to support efforts to restore, rather than further degrade Lake Michigan," Durbin wrote.

The EPA is preparing a response to the congressional letters and calls, said Phillipa Cannon, a spokeswoman in the agency's regional office in Chicago. Indiana regulators, meanwhile, said they forced BP to discharge less pollution than the company had requested.

In an e-mail, a BP official said the company is spending $90 million to upgrade the refinery's water-treatment plant.

"Every step has been done properly, with the oversight of state and federal regulators and in full public view," wrote Scott Dean, a company spokesman.

But state and federal regulators agreed with BP that there isn't enough room at the 1,400-acre Whiting site to upgrade the water treatment plant enough to keep more pollution out of the lake. As a result, the company will be allowed to dump an average of 1,584 pounds of ammonia and 4,925 pounds of sludge into Lake Michigan every day.

-----------

mhawthorne@tribune.com



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Roger Kaputnik
post Jul 18 2007, 11:09 AM
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they are gonna dump yet more into the lake for a lousy 80 jobs?? This IS outrageous. And by the way, even tho' the refinery is right here, gas prices are as high as anywhere else.

Let's all call on our Federal Gov't reps to stop this idiocy by the Governor and his henchmen.


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Southsider2k12
post Jul 18 2007, 11:14 AM
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FWIW, they aren't producing much of anything around here right now because of a refinary fire, which is what is causing the latest 40 cent hike in gas prices.
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Ang
post Jul 18 2007, 11:17 AM
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I don't understand why they need to dump anything into the lake at all. We have refineries all over Wyoming and there are no bodies of water they dump their crap into. I'm not sure what they do with it, but I'm finding out. A gal I work with-her husband works in the Oilfield industry and she is going to ask him. As soon as I get an answer I'll let you guys know.


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Ang
post Jul 18 2007, 11:29 AM
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Okay, here in Wyoming, the refineries have treaters and heaters that burn the waste down to about nothing. What's left is used in solvents and lubricants, etc. So, basically, they recycle their waste.

I guess there was an Amoco refinery here in Casper and the EPA shut them down cause they were contaminating the land. They had the "brown field" group come in and clean up the area and built The Three Crowns Golf Course on it. The course was completed and opened two years ago and will be on the PGA tour within the next couple years. It could already be on it, I don't follow golf so I wouldn't know for sure. But if any of you do, and they are at Three Crowns, well that is here in Casper, look at the view while you're watching the match--it's gorgeous!!


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Max Main
post Jul 18 2007, 02:03 PM
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I am contacting state and fed reps to ask them to do something to block this blockheaded move. That Mitch is an idiot. It figures that he is Bush's Man.
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Ang
post Jul 18 2007, 02:21 PM
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One thing that's bad about the refineries recycling their waste is that Wyoming has the dirtiest air in the nation. You wouldn't think so being here, but I saw some t.v. news magazine report about it. Our air is dirtier than Los Angeles. It seems like they're dirtier but it's only because the area is confined and Wyoming is so vast.


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Southsider2k12
post Jul 20 2007, 07:15 AM
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Here is an easy chance for Michigan City leadership to jump behind the 800 pound gorilla in this case... Chicago is going to fight these new regulations.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/n...1,5677904.story

QUOTE
By Noreen S. Ahmed-Ullah, Tribune staff reporter. Tribune staff reporter Gary Washburn contributed
July 19, 2007

The City of Chicago joined the fight Wednesday to stop the BP refinery in Whiting, Ind., from dumping significantly more ammonia and industrial sludge into Lake Michigan.

City administrators said they hope to meet with BP officials next week. They've hired a consultant to review the water permit granted by Indiana regulators that will allow BP, one of the largest polluters along the Great Lakes, to dump 54 percent more ammonia and 35 percent more sludge into Lake Michigan each day.

City officials also said they are exploring legal options, on the same day BP opened its refinery to media tours and disputed reports about increased pollution resulting from the new permit.

Speaking to reporters Wednesday after a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Kennedy-King College in Englewood, Mayor Richard Daley said increased pollution from the refinery would work against the city's long-term efforts to clean up the lake.

"We are very concerned about that," Daley said. "We protect the Great Lakes. ... That is our drinking water. That is our economic development. That is our recreation."

Indiana officials exempted BP from state environmental laws, allowing the refinery to move forward with plans for a $3.8 billion expansion to process more heavy Canadian crude oil.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which steps in to oversee permits and enforcement, did not object to Indiana regulators' decision in the case.

Chicago's Environment Commissioner Sadhu Johnston said neither state officials nor BP had informed Chicago officials of the refinery's plans. Instead, he said, city officials read about it in Sunday's Tribune.

"They really didn't do any outreach," he said. "Since they are expanding in this community, they should have told us of their plans and what that would do to the lake."

Johnston said he thinks increased pollutant levels could be addressed if BP added more modern technology to the site.

Ald. Ginger Rugai (19th) said she plans to introduce a resolution calling for a City Council hearing on BP's project.

At a Chicago Park District news conference Wednesday, Rugai and other city officials and environmental leaders gathered to announced a petition drive this weekend along the city's lakefront. Parks Supt. Tim Mitchell said he hopes to deliver tens of thousands signatures to the governor of Indiana, asking him to reconsider the decision to allow BP to move ahead on its plans.

These latest efforts come on the heels of objections by several U.S. lawmakers from Illinois, Indiana and Michigan, who urged federal regulators this week to block expansion efforts by BP. Phillipa Cannon, spokeswoman for the Environmental Protection Agency's Chicago office, said administrators in Washington are preparing a response to the congressional letters and calls.

Officials with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management have said that the approval came after "substantial citizen participation" and that the limits are below federal water quality requirements.

But Carolyn Marsh, a Whiting resident who appeared at the Chicago Park District news conference, said the public comment period lasted only 2 months. She said she was appointed to a citizen's committee by BP, but the refinery never mentioned any increase in ammonia or other pollutants.

Also on Wednesday, BP officials invited journalists to tour the refinery and its water treatment site and downplayed reports of increased pollution related to the expansion project.

Company representatives said they will be spending $150 million to modernize their water treatment plant. They disputed the Tribune's use of the term "sludge," saying the discharged elements would be tiny particles, one-tenth the thickness of the human hair, called "total suspended solids."

They said the refinery would discharge ammonia and these particles at lower amounts than the permit allowed most of the time. The refinery asked for the higher levels for "operational upsets" such as heavy rainfallor problems at the refinery, plant manager Dan Sajkowski said.

It's an argument the city wasn't buying.

"Whether it's sludge or particulate, either way it's a pollutant and it's going into Lake Michigan," Johnston said.

Park staff will collect signatures for the "Save Our Lake" effort at 14 lakefront locations including beaches, Navy Pier and the Museum Campus.
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Roger Kaputnik
post Jul 20 2007, 07:51 AM
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Our rep Scott Pelath is calling for an investigation into the situation.

While I am not a fan of The Mayor, I hope his weight reverses the BP allowance.


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Southsider2k12
post Jul 20 2007, 08:20 AM
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QUOTE(Roger Kaputnik @ Jul 20 2007, 08:51 AM) *

Our rep Scott Pelath is calling for an investigation into the situation.

While I am not a fan of The Mayor, I hope his weight reverses the BP allowance.


For a guy who stands barely 5'6", Rich Daley is a good shadow to stand in. If anyone in Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconson could get this reversed, its Hizzonor. I'd love to see our mayor jump onto this bandwagon and vow to fight this happening. Its our lake too. Just because its dumped in Whiting, doesn't mean it stays there.
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Ang
post Jul 20 2007, 01:36 PM
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And now comes the BP Fluff to shut us up.....


QUOTE
http://thenewsdispatch.com/main.asp?Sectio...amp;TM=55455.72

BP Rebukes Reports It's Discharging Sludge Into Lake
WHITING, Ind. - An official at the BP refinery in Whiting has disputed the idea that the company discharges sludge directly into Lake Michigan.

Reports this week revealed permits granted by a state agency allow BP to increase the volume of sludge and ammonia discharged into the lake to 4,925 pounds of sludge per day, and 1,584 pounds of ammonia per day.

Dan Sajkowski, BP Whiting Refinery business unit leader, in a statement, said the discharged is fine particles that aren't filtered out in the plant's water treatment system. He disputed news reports saying the company discharged "sludge."

"That is not true. The refinery does not and will not discharge sludge into the lake. The refinery discharges only treated water into the lake. Treated wastewater is more than 99.999 percent water. The remainder is salt, nutrients, organics and inorganics that are not dissolved in water ... All wastewater sludges are treated separately, according to state and federal requirements, and never discharged to Lake Michigan," Sajkowski said.

Regarding ammonia, the new permit allows the refinery's average ammonia discharge to increase from 1,030 pounds per day to 1,584 pounds per day.

However, Sajkowski said, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency guidelines could allow as much as 3,358 pounds per day, more than double the refinery's newly permitted ammonia discharge limit.

"Also, it is important to remember that these permit numbers are maximum limits; on a daily average basis, actual discharges by the Whiting Refinery are substantially less."

The limits imposed by regulations are based upon best available technology, refinery size and complexity, he said.

"Every step has been done properly, in full public view and with the oversight of regulators whose guidelines ensure that aquatic and human life are protected," Sajkowski said.

The new IDEM permits, with higher allowable sludge and ammonia discharges, were sought because the BP refinery is increasing the amount of crude oil from Canada, which contains more materials to remove in the process.

"Through upgrades at Whiting, BP will be able to process additional heavy crude oil from Canada, a secure, reliable and sustainable source. The refinery currently runs about 30 percent heavy Canadian crude. The reconfigured refinery will run about 90 percent," Sajkowski said.

BP is planning an investment of more than $3 billion to modernize the refinery so it continues to provide the reliable fuel supply people need well into the future, he said.



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LakeEffect
post Jul 20 2007, 01:52 PM
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Looks like plenty of room to expand a wastewater treatment plant. Zoom up:

Google Maps North Whiting

Let go swimming here: Whihala Beach County Park
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Southsider2k12
post Jul 20 2007, 01:56 PM
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QUOTE(LakeEffect @ Jul 20 2007, 02:52 PM) *

Looks like plenty of room to expand a wastewater treatment plant. Zoom up:

Google Maps North Whiting

Let go swimming here: Whihala Beach County Park


Welcome to the site smile.gif

BTW, how is this for irony... when you click the beach link, there is this...

QUOTE
Whihala Beach offers the following features:
barrier free toilet


Yeah, Lake Michigan, free toilet to BP... mad.gif
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Ang
post Jul 20 2007, 02:01 PM
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Welcome to the site LakeEffect! I see you accepted my invitation. I hope you enjoy our little place.


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mcstumper
post Jul 20 2007, 08:03 PM
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What I don't get in BP's response is that if you aren't dumping sludge into the lake, then why would you file for a permit to increase the amount of the sludge you can dump?


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mcstumper
post Jul 20 2007, 08:05 PM
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QUOTE(Ang @ Jul 20 2007, 03:01 PM) *

Welcome to the site LakeEffect! I see you accepted my invitation. I hope you enjoy our little place.


Hey. I have a cool avatar and everything and no one sends me any invitations!


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