Enbridge continues oil spill clean-up efforts at Kalamazoo River in Michigan; pipeline out of service indefinitely

By Phaedra Friend Troy 

According to a report from Enbridge Energy Partners (NYSE:EEP), there is no more sheen on the Kalamazoo River, due to extensive clean-up efforts following the Line 6B pipeline oil leak, which is part of the Lakehead Pipeline system in Michigan.

Approximately 730 Enbridge employees and contractors have been working to clean-up the site, removing about 10,000 barrels of oil from the waterways. Oil sheen remains upstream of Battle Creek, but the Kalamazoo River is clean. 

The increase in the number of barrels recovered is due largely to the amount being recovered at the spill site. 

“That is oil that never reached the creek and the river; it was contained in that swamp area right adjacent to the pipe, and we’re pulling volumes out of there quite rapidly now so the recovered barrels of oil are climbing,” explained Steve Wuori, an executive with Enbridge Pipelines. 

Currently there are 79 vacuum trucks, 48 skimmers, 19 tanker trucks and 43 boats involved in the clean-up efforts. There are also 69,000 feet of boom deployed to try to contain the spill, as well as absorb it.

The damaged section of the Line 6B pipeline has not yet been removed. The investigation into the cause of the oil leak is ongoing, and it is not known when the pipeline will return to service.

“The plan right now is to cut out the affected section of pipe in the early morning hours on Tuesday,” Wuori said. “However, this is subject to determination by the Transportation Safety Board as to their completion of the investigation of the specimen before it is cut out.”

On July 26, a leak was detected in the Line 6B pipeline on Enbridge’s Lakehead System in Michigan. A 30-inch-diameter pipeline, Line 6B pipeline can transport up to 190,000 barrels per day of light synthetics, heavy and medium crude oil from Griffith, Indiana, to Sarnia, Ontario, in Canada.

Initial estimates of the amount of oil spilled are 19,500 barrels. 

In January of this year, another portion of the Lakehead pipeline system was shut-down for a 3,000-barrel oil leak in North Dakota.

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