Monday, July 28, 2014

What do you get for a million gallon spill, a billion dollar clean up, and four years?

The fourth anniversary of the Enbridge Line 6B rupture and spill into Talmadge Creek and the Kalamazoo River is today, July 25, although the source of the spill was not determined until July 26. We wanted to take a bit of a retrospective look at the spill and its aftermath to see what, if anything, has changed about pipeline safety, what has been learned, and what remains the same as ever.

For a reminder of the circumstances of the spill itself, we highly recommend a review of the full NTSB report on the incident. For the sake of brevity, we quote here only the Executive Summary:
Enbridge Pipeline

On Sunday, July 25, 2010, at 5:58 p.m., eastern daylight time, a segment of a 30-inch-diameter pipeline (Line 6B), owned and operated by Enbridge Incorporated (Enbridge) ruptured in a wetland in Marshall, Michigan. The rupture occurred during the last stages of a planned shutdown and was not discovered or addressed for over 17 hours. During the time lapse, Enbridge twice pumped additional oil (81 percent of the total release) into Line 6B during two startups; the total release was estimated to be 843,444 gallons of crude oil. The oil saturated the surrounding wetlands and flowed into the Talmadge Creek and the Kalamazoo River. Local residents self-evacuated from their houses, and the environment was negatively affected. Cleanup efforts continue as of the adoption date of this report, with continuing costs exceeding $767 million. About 320 people reported symptoms consistent with crude oil exposure. No fatalities were reported.  MORE

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