Calgary company says it is playing it safe in reviewing design plans
By CRYSTAL GARCIA Times Herald
Work to replace an Enbridge oil pipeline under the St. Clair River has been delayed.
The company, based in Calgary, Alberta, is reviewing its design plans for the project, said Joe Martucci, company spokesman.
Work initially was scheduled to start Jan. 10 and be completed by spring. Martucci said work could begin within the next two weeks.
“… Given the proximity of the horizontal directional drilling near Line 6B and other facilities, Enbridge has decided, in an over-abundance of caution, to again review the detailed design, implementation and safety plans,” Martucci said.
Martucci said there were no problems encountered, but the company wanted to be cautious.
“It’s a complex process and we think it’s prudent to recheck the plan,” he said.
Jeff Friedland, St. Clair County Emergency Management director, said he doesn’t mind the delay if it means everything is done correctly.
“If we’re going to try to do something, let’s make sure it’s done safely and correctly,” he said. “If there’s a delay for a couple of weeks, I’m OK with it.”
U.S. Rep. Candice Miller, R-Harrison Township, echoed Friedland’s sentiments.
“As long as Enbridge remains entirely committed to proceed with the pipeline replacement plan under the St. Clair River, I take this delay as their commitment to the safety of the community and surrounding environment,” Miller said in an e-mail.
“Bottom line is that this section of pipeline needs to be replaced, and as soon as possible,” she continued. “However, we need to be absolutely certain we have no safety concerns. We must have zero tolerance for error in this vital location.”
She said Enbridge is expected to announce a new schedule, giving agencies and effected parties at least five days of advance notice before drilling operations begin.
The 30-inch pipeline was built in 1969 and runs from Griffith, Ind., to Sarnia.
In 2009, the company discovered a dent in the pipeline beneath the St. Clair River and reduced pressure in the pipeline.
Enbridge announced plans for the replacement project shortly after another portion of the pipeline sprang a leak in July 2010, spilling 800,000 gallons of crude oil near Marshall.
Plans submitted to the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration in October show 3,600 feet of the pipeline will be replaced during the upcoming project