Enbridge crude oil pipeline leak contained

A crude oil pipeline near Grand Marsh, Wis., has leaked 1,200 bbl, according to Enbridge Energy Partners LP who said July 27 that the leaked oil was quickly contained. The Enbridge Inc. subsidiary’s control center detected a pressure drop on Line 14 around 2:45 p.m. CDT, shut the line down immediately, and sent an emergency crew to the site, it indicated.

“At this point, the pipeline is exposed and repair work is under way,” a spokeswoman told OGJ by e-mail on July 30. “A new section of pipe is scheduled to be installed later today. We continue to investigate the cause of the release.”

The spill was largely confined to a field on the pipeline right-of-way, Enbridge said, adding that no one had been injured.

Two inspectors from the US Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration are at the site, a spokesman for the US Department of Transportation agency said on July 30. “The pipeline has been uncovered to begin removing the failed section, which will be sent to a metallurgical lab for examination,” he said. “PHMSA’s investigation into the cause of the failure will be continuing.”

The US Environmental Protection Agency also deployed a team to the spill site and immediately began air quality monitoring operations. EPA said it established a unified command that includes representatives from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and Enbridge as well as its own personnel. The agency will oversee excavation of contaminated soil and vegetation as well as efforts to determine if the spill has had an impact on groundwater, it said.

The leak occurred 2 days after the second anniversary of another Enbridge crude oil pipeline spill in Michigan where 20,000 bbl leaked into Talmadge Creek and the nearby Kalamazoo River for 17 hr on July 25, 2010, until a local utility worker discovered the spill and notified Enbridge.

The National Transportation Safety Board said on July 10 that pervasive organizational failures at the pipeline and weak federal regulation combined to cause the 2010 spill. PHMSA proposed a record $3.7 million fine and 24 enforcement actions against Enbridge on July 2 in connection with the incident.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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