Bolstering safety in the Straits

Enbridge invests $7M in additional equipment to enhance emergency response capabilities in Michigan

Overprepared and underutilized. In the world of emergency responders, it’s the ideal scenario.

That’s why Enbridge is once again raising the bar—with an additional investment of $7 million in emergency response equipment, over the next two years, for deployment along our Line 5 pipeline in Michigan, including the Straits of Mackinac.

Through the purchase of this equipment, along with our continuous emergency preparedness activities, we’re aiming to develop the Great Lakes region into a world-class leader in recovery efforts and expertise.

“In the very unlikely event that we have to respond to a pipeline incident, we’re ready,” says Stephen Lloyd, a senior manager of emergency response with Enbridge.

“And with this additional purchase,” he adds, “we’ll enhance our existing capabilities with some of the industry’s leading emergency response equipment.”

Over the next two years, Enbridge will strengthen our already robust emergency response capabilities by purchasing additional equipment, including:

  • Several high-speed oil containment and recovery systems;
  • Additional skimmers;
  • Ice response skimming systems; and
  • Additional containment, protection and absorbent boom.

All of this equipment has been tested, and has a track record of success within industry. In the unlikely event of a pipeline incident, this new equipment will help Enbridge and other oil-spill response organizations recover product quickly in multiple scenarios—rough open waters, ice cover, and near shore.

“The investments that Enbridge has committed to making in spill response assets is impressive. As someone who has been in the business of spill response for over 30 years, I find their commitment notable,” says Charles Usher, president of Detroit-based Marine Pollution Control.

“I can’t think of another company,” adds Usher, “that has made this level of investment without being required to do so by a regulation or governmental agency.”

Last September, we asked a Minnesota-based external consultant to examine our equipment inventory and readiness. The consultant, an oil spill response and prevention company with three decades’ experience, suggested we consider additional shoreline and open-water recovery and protection equipment—and we’ve acted on that recommendation.

“All of this equipment will enhance our emergency response. It’s an investment in the region,” says Lloyd. “Right now we’re talking to our oil spill response contractors and other agencies to determine the best locations for storage and deployment in the area.”

While we focus on prevention at Enbridge, emergency response is an important part of our multi-faceted approach to safety.

In addition to investing in equipment, we maintain strong emergency preparedness and response systems that we regularly test and continuously improve alongside local first responders, government agencies, and emergency management officials. In the case of the Line 5 Straits crossing, we’ve developed—and continue to update—a comprehensive tactical response plan.

“Preventing all spills or leaks is our ultimate goal,” says Lloyd. “Still, we want to go above and beyond to be prepared for any incident.”

(TOP PHOTO: QualiTech’s Nofi Current Buster high-speed oil containment and recovery system in action.}