The 1,000-Mile Great Lakes Adventures

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Enbridge Oil Pipeline Spill...3 Years Later

Three years ago, an underground oil pipeline operated by Enbridge Energy Partners (Enbridge) ruptured and leaked over a million gallons of heavy tar sands oil into a creek just east of where I live. The creek (Talmadge Creek) flowed into the Kalamazoo River which flows through the center of my town, Battle Creek. In the early days of the leak, it smelled like every road in the county had just been paved with hot asphalt. But it was just the stench from the lighter parts of the oil evaporating off the river into the air. 

While some of the oil was captured in booms and skimmed off the top of the water, the heavier part of the oil sank to the bottom of the river. Enbridge skimmed the rivers, then spent the second year agitating the riverbed to liberate the heavier portion and gather it for disposal. 

Then, Enbridge tried to walk away from the site 
saying it was taken care of.

That's when the EPA again tested the riverbed and estimated that at least 80,000 gallons (and as much as three times that amount) still remains submerged in the river.

So, the clean-up of the largest pipeline spill in America's history is in its third year. Sections of the river are closed, heavy machinery and conveyance piping to remove the toxic sludge will be brought in and assembled.

This spill contaminated 35 miles of the Kalamazoo River...which flows into Lake Michigan. The spill was contained before it reached the Great Lake, but it did contaminate Lake Morrow about 80 miles inland from Lake Michigan.

For insight into the tar sands mining operation in Alberta where this toxic, sludgy form of petroleum is mined, watch this Ted Talk

For the latest on clean-up efforts in the Kalamazoo River, go here.

Enbridge is working to DOUBLE the amount of tar sands oil they  move through pipelines to refineries in Michigan and Ohio. 
Read about it here.

No comments:

Post a Comment