The Kalamazoo River Oil Spill What did we learn and how did we learn it Chris Killian The Kalamazoo Gazette Enbridge President and CEO Patrick Daniel, 8/13/10: “The value and importance of energy to society is so critical. We all wish that we didn’t have to have pipelines. And we all wish that we didn’t have to experience accidents.” Background on Pipeline 6B Built in 1969. Runs about 8 million gallons of crude oil and other products daily under normal operating conditions. 30-inch pipe, 286-miles long. What happened? On 7/26/10, a rupture occurred. Rip in the top portion of pipe. Cause still unknown, pending NTSB investigation findings due out between July 2011 and Feb. 2012. The 6-foot Rip The Result 819,000 to over 1 million gallons of crude oil spilled into the Kalamazoo River by way of Talmadge Creek. 30 miles of river impacted. Oil nearly reached Superfund site. One of the largest oil spills in Midwest history. Flooding at the time made it worse. The victims… Many animals impacted Several species call the river watershed home: muskrat (left) to turtles to Canada geese and other birds to waterfowl. All were impacted. Residents impacted Concerns about negative health effects, loss of property value, groundwater and air contamination. Hundreds of homes evacuated. Will the river ever be the same? Getting to work Hundreds of thousands of feet of boom deployed. At the height, over 2,000 workers on the river. Cleanup, remediation and restoration work for months - and still ongoing. Areas (mostly) restored Under oversight from U.S. EPA, the event went from containment to cleanup to restoration. Nearly all the oil is out of the creek and river. Long-term monitoring and water testing. Animals make a comeback Total animals rehabilitated and released: 2,158 Total animals contacted: 2,536 Several species, including many, birds, mammals and amphibians. But the overwhelming species was turtles When it’s all said and done Cost of spill: $300 to $400 million, although Enbridge anticipates actually spending about 10 percent of that. Long-term groundwater and well monitoring. Uncertain economic development impacts. Michigan officials don’t see river coming back to its pre-spill state until 2015. What Enbridge did Set-up claims centers in Battle Creek and Marshall. Took hundreds of claims, ranging from costs related to myriad damages related to the spill to reduced property values. Set-up home purchasing program. Patrick Daniel on-scene for months. Pipeline up and running, with caveats Began operating under reduced pressure in late September. In-line tests performed on pipeline 6B in 2007 and 2009 found 329 defects. Out of that total, Enbridge has performed 61 repairs. Under restart plan, all other anomalies must have repair plan in place. 3,800 foot section of pipe under St. Clair River must be replaced, likely to take place next year. Public frustration, confusion Nationwide, 44 percent of hazardous liquids pipelines lie in a high-consequence area. Only 7 percent of natural gas pipelines do. Many interviewed asked why? If you live in a non-HCA and an incident occurs, it’s a significant incident, they said Frustration cont. Where are the pipelines? Public’s right to know. “It got me thinking. What’s the status of these underground pipelines? How are they tested? How are they inspected?” -Kim Sandelin, who has a 36-inch gasoline pipeline running under his backyard and under a swing-set. Media frustrations Lack of response from PHMSA (where are the pipelines, how are they inspected, what are they inspected for and how often). How to inform the public with lack of transparency. The media is, for better or worse, one of the most effective vehicles for informing the public. Media cont. Information empowers people to make responsible decisions and enact positive behavioral changes steps PHMSA says are integral to public safety. Therefore, data and other information regarding everything from spill plans to location of pipelines to inspection data, given that it all has bearing on public safety, should be readily available. Out-quotes Former U.S. Rep. Mark Schauer: “But companies need to ask themselves: Is it cheaper to make repairs and maintain their systems, or respond to a spill? Cyndi Roper, state director for the Michigan chapter of Clean Water Action: “There seems to be a hesitancy on the part of regulators to regulate. People are starting to make the connections – BP, now the Kalamazoo River spill. There is an awareness now that we’re vulnerable. These pipes are among us. There has been an awakening.” Credits All photos © The Kalamazoo Gazette or courtesy of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. All quotes © The Kalamazoo Gazette.