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Frequently Asked Questions

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About the SpillWhat happened? What caused the problem?
 How much oil was spilled? How much of it has been recovered?
 How much will the spill cost Enbridge?
 Has the pipeline been restarted?
 What kind of oil was going through the pipeline when it leaked? What chemicals were released?
 As a company, has the incident changed how Enbridge operates?
  
CleanupWhat is Enbridge doing about the spill?
 What is your progress to date?
 When will you be done?
 What is Enbridge doing to protect the environment?
 Is there a place for wildlife affected by the spill?
 
CommunityAre there restrictions on using the Kalamazoo River?
 When will the river reopen?
 How has Enbridge compensated residents for damages and losses?
 What is the status of the Enbridge Property Purchase Program?
 What should I do if I have health concerns related to the oil spill?
 What if I see oil in the river or on my property?
 What if I have more questions?
  

About the Spill

What happened and what caused the problem?(top)
A leak was detected on Line 6B of Enbridge Energy Partners’ Lakehead System on Monday, July 26, 2010, near the company’s Marshall, Mich., pipeline pumping station. The cause of the leak is under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of Pipeline Safety (USDOT/OPS).
 
How much product was spilled?(top)
An estimated 20,082 barrels (843,444 gallons) of crude oil was released from Line 6B; of that, an estimated 8,033 barrels (337,386 gallons) reached Talmadge Creek and the Kalamazoo River.
 
How much will the spill cost Enbridge?(top)
According to a report that Enbridge recently filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the cleanup cost is currently estimated at $725 million.

This reflects estimated costs related to the additional scope of work in response to the U.S. EPA work directive which we submitted to the EPA on October 20, 2011; additional information concerning the reassessment of the overall monitoring area; and related cleanup, including submerged oil recovery operations and remediation activities.

We continue to make progress on the cleanup, remediation and restoration of the areas affected by the leak on Line 6B. The majority of the recoverable oil has been collected.
 
Has the pipeline been restarted?(top)
Yes, Enbridge safely returned Line 6B to service on Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2010. The graduated return to service began Sept. 27 and was conducted in accordance with the previously approved restart plan accepted by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) as amended September 22.
 
What kind of oil was going through the pipeline when it leaked? What chemicals were released?(top)
The type of oil that was being transported at the time of the incident was 77 percent Cold Lake and 23 percent Western Canadian Select (WCS) crude, which are heavy oils from western Canada. Crude oil is a hydrocarbon that contains many different compounds such as benzene, toluene, and hydrogen sulfide. Many compounds in crude oil readily evaporate when exposed to air. During a leak, vapor concerns are highest in the first hours or days of an incident, but diminish rapidly.
 
As a company, has the incident changed how Enbridge operates?(top)
The safety of people who live and work near our pipeline rights-of-way has always been a top priority. Enbridge will evaluate all information and learnings from this incident and apply that information to all of our pipeline operations. We will also share those learnings with the pipeline industry so other operators will benefit from what we have learned. Enbridge has always been safety and environmentally conscious and this incident has provided learnings in many different areas of our company, including pipeline inspections and preventive maintenance, public awareness, and communications with emergency responders and the community. We are focused on applying these lessons across our operations.

Cleanup

What is Enbridge doing about the spill(top)
Within one hour of being alerted to the leak, Enbridge had emergency crews starting initial containment. At the height of the response, there were approximately 2,000-to-2,500 workers in the Marshall and Battle Creek areas. The workforce has increased and decreased as needed according to the clean-up activities that we were undertaking and per approved work plans. We are working cooperatively with all of the federal, state and local agencies working on the response and cleanup.
 
What is your progress to date?(top)
We are continuing cleanup operations along the stretch of the Kalamazoo River affected by last year’s incident. Recovery efforts are taking place both on the river and on the river banks.
 
When will you be done?(top)
Work is still ongoing. Enbridge continues to make clean up and remediation of Talmadge Creek and the Kalamazoo River our top priority. We have committed since the outset of this incident to restore the area as close as possible to its pre-existing condition. We remain fully committed to that goal.
 
What is Enbridge doing to protect the environment?(top)
Protecting the environment is one of the primary goals of Enbridge’s response. During the initial response through November 2010, Enbridge took air, water and sediment samples, and the sampling results are posted on this website. Enbridge has met deadlines set by the EPA for cleanup of the source area and Talmadge Creek, and primary cleanup of the Kalamazoo River and submerged oil. This does not mean that the cleanup process has been completed. There is a very rigorous inspection process that every quarter mile section of the creek and river must undergo prior to sign-off by the EPA. Sign-off indicates only that a specific stage of work is complete. We continue to work with the EPA and have signed a compliance order with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), which will guide cleanup and remediation work going forward. There will be some areas where oil will be left in place because further removal work would cause more damage to the environment than leaving the oil in place. This will be done at the direction of the DEQ and the EPA.
 
Is there a place for wildlife affected by the spill?(top)
Yes, Enbridge is working with Stantec Consulting, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR), and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to minimize impacts on wildlife. The Wildlife Response Center successfully treated and released 96 percent of the animals that were taken into care. The original site in Marshall has closed. However, we have opened a new center more centrally located to handle any turtles or other wildlife collected that need to be cleaned. We are presently monitoring wildlife conditions along the river and have collected some turtles this summer.

If you see an affected animal, do not handle yourself. Please call our public information hotline at (800) 306-6837. A trained wildlife professional will be alerted for follow up.
 
 
 

Community

Are there restrictions on using the Kalamazoo River?(top)

The Kalamazoo River and Morrow Lake are now open for recreational use. Permitted recreational uses include boating, wading/swimming and fishing. Local and state officials, along with Enbridge, remind the general public to obey all signage and only use marked areas for accessing the river. Please do not trespass onto private property.

Working in conjunction with federal, state and local agencies, Enbridge has constructed 12 informational kiosks at various locations along the Kalamazoo River. These kiosks are designed to promote safe and legal access points to the river. Additionally, the kiosks will provide general information about the river, river conditions and the status of ongoing cleanup operations.

 
When will the river reopen?(top)

Cleanup, under the direction of the U.S. EPA, has progressed to the point that the Kalamazoo River and Morrow Lake are now open for recreational use. The first section—nearly three miles near Perrin Dam (Marshall Public Works building) to Saylor’s Landing, a new public river access sites that Enbridge built for the community at 15 Mile Road and the Kalamazoo River—opened on April 18, 2012. The remaining portion opened on June 21, 2012.

Enbridge will continue to perform activities related to cleanup even with the river open, under the direction of the U.S. EPA and Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. The public may encounter ongoing work activities at several locations along the river. Locations with sediment traps, research equipment, or active work may have restricted access. Please use caution when recreating around these work zones.

 
How has Enbridge compensated residents for damages and losses?(top)
We have assembled a team of employees and claims representatives to address concerns and receive claims from those directly affected by the spill. Enbridge has worked closely with local residents from the outset to resolve claims, discuss work activity on specific properties and answer questions. We have resolved the majority of claims with those residents who are most affected, including those who own properties along Talmadge Creek and the Kalamazoo River. Each claim is evaluated on an individual basis and on its own merits.

Enbridge accepts responsibility for the costs related to emergency response or payment of claims that are a direct result of this incident. This includes legitimate medical expenses associated with the incident.
 
What is the status of the Enbridge Property Purchase Program?(top)
We developed the property purchase program in order to uphold market values in the area. We continue to evaluate our program on an ongoing basis to determine the best course of action for the Enbridge-owned properties without having a negative impact on the community. Program eligibility closed on July 26, 2011.

Enbridge sold our first house on July 19, 2012 in the Marshall area.
 
What should I do if I have health concerns related to the oil spill?(top)
The health and safety of the communities affected by the spill on Line 6B are and will remain a priority to Enbridge. From the outset, we have worked closely with local, state and federal public health authorities to mitigate any health impacts related to the spill. We continue to look to public health authorities for their expert guidance to reduce and minimize the health impacts associated with this spill. If you have health concerns, please contact your doctor, the Calhoun County Public Health Department at (269) 969-6341, or the Kalamazoo County Health Department at (269) 373-5210.
 
What if I see oil in the river or on my property?(top)
We continue to ask area residents to call the Enbridge hotline (800-306-6837) with questions or to report oil or sheen on their property.

Reports of oil or sheen will be reviewed through a formal process set up by Enbridge, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and the EPA.

Locations noted are analyzed to determine the best course of action and a team is dispatched to investigate. Once analysis of the location is complete, the three entities determine whether further work should be done immediately as part of operations & maintenance, or deferred to the remediation phase of the project.

Decisions about course of action will take into account what is best for the environment. There are some areas where it is best for the environment to do nothing, where methods applied to capture the product or remove staining will cause more environmental damage than the oil itself. These decisions are made by the EPA.
 
What if I have more questions?(top)

Enbridge has a toll-free hotline in Marshall. We also have staff available to help answer questions. The hotline is staffed Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern. 

Marshall Information Hotline
(800) 306-6837