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Enbridge Energy could face fines after incident with pipeline that's under construction

Enbridge Energy has until July 31st to submit a plan to resolve problems with its new oil pipeline. The line will span much of lower Michigan once completed. It’ll replace the one that burst in 2010, causing the oil spill in the Kalamazoo River.

Michigan’s Department of Environmental Qualitycited a dozen violations of the conditions of a water discharge permit.

MDEQ investigated the site in Livingston County’s Tyrone Township after a video surfaced online of reddish colored hydrostatic test water spewing into North Ore Creek.


MDEQ found Enbridge didn’t have someone on site overseeing the tests on the pipeline. Water sampling and testing wasn’t done as required. There was too much oil and grease discharged, among other issues.

“Was it a major threat to public health or aquatic life; was there a fish kill associated? No. No there wasn’t,” MDEQ spokesman Brad Wurfel said, “But at the same time that’s not a discharge that’s allowed. That’s not the way this is supposed to work. This wasn’t handled in the way it should’ve been and we’re going to address it.”

Wurfel says Enbridge will “very likely be fined” over the matter.

The company has until the end of the month to submit a plan to the state to resolve the issues.

Enbridge spokesman Jason Manshum wasn’t available for an interview but issued this written statement.

On Friday, June 28, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) issued Enbridge a Notice of Violation (NOV) regarding the events related to a discharge of hydrostatic test water at North Ore Creek in Livingston County on June 17. We are thoroughly reviewing the NOV an working with the MDEQ to resolve the issue. The discharge of test water at North Ore Creek involved some unforeseen circumstances, and while we believe there was no environmental harm as a result, Enbridge takes this matter seriously. We regret the incident happened.

Lindsey Smith is a Peabody Award-winning journalist currently leading the station's Amplify Team. She previously served as Michigan Public's Morning News Editor, Investigative Reporter and West Michigan Reporter.
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