Enbridge acted quickly, responsibly following 1980 Hiawatha National Forest pipeline release
May 8, 2016
Enbridge response to Detroit Free Press article on historical release
Enbridge has worked closely with both the U.S. Forest Service and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality every step of the way in the Hiawatha National Forest and we continue to keep them informed.
Our detailed records show that Enbridge (then known as Lakehead Pipe Line Company, Inc.) acted quickly on July 28, 1980 as soon as a release of approximately five barrels of light crude oil in the Hiawatha National Forest was detected. On July 28, 1980, we notified the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, which, at the time, included what is now known as the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. On July 29, 1980, we notified the Michigan Public Service Commission and – although there was no requirement to do so – the U.S. Forest Service. The spill was cleaned up following all the standards and requirements of that time.
When we returned to the site in 2011 for a valve replacement project, a decision was made to check for any remaining impacts related to the 1980 release. Under an amendment to our existing right-of-way permit (Amendment #7 dated July 1, 2011) we then conducted cleanup efforts and removed soil from the area in addition to soil that was excavated for the valve replacement project. That routine maintenance work was conducted on our right-of-way, thus no additional notifications were required.
In October 2012, a permit application was filed with the Forest Service for installation of groundwater monitoring wells. The permit was approved in 2015 and the monitoring wells were installed in 2015. Enbridge has self-implemented a clean-up plan – as allowed by Part 201 of state regulations – and will report to the Michigan DEQ, at the conclusion of that work. To date, the monitoring wells have detected no contamination of ground water.
Enbridge policy and procedure demands compliance with all federal, state and local regulations, and we have been in full compliance with regards to our permits and easement through the Hiawatha National Forest. Many of the activities described above can be found posted on the U.S. Forest Service’s website.
As a company that has operated in Michigan for more than 60 years, we remain fully committed to protecting the precious natural resources of Michigan through the continued safe operation of Line 5.