October 30 Progress Update
Enbridge received sign off for cleanup of submerged oil in targeted areas on Oct. 24, a week ahead of the Oct. 31 EPA deadline. Several techniques were used to free oil from the river bottom, including mechanical aeration and dredging. Aeration involves injecting air from the surface into sub-surface sediment to release any oil, which is then captured at the surface. This technique produced good results and is minimally invasive to the environment. Dredging, which occurred primarily upstream of Ceresco Dam, removed the top six inches of sediment from the river bottom in affected areas and pumped it to a collection area nearby. We removed approximately 7,000 cubic yards of sediment associated with our dredging operations.
Operations and maintenance work continues at 90 sites along the Kalamazoo River and Talmadge Creek. Thirty six of these sites have received sign off on work identified. Boom is being used to manage any remaining sheen at eight control points along the river. Boom can continue to be used until the area is affected by a freeze.
We also are working to clean thousands of feet of boom and hundreds of pieces of heavy machinery, boats and frac tanks that no longer are needed in the response. The process of demobilizing contractors from the response effort is ongoing. This is a natural progression and a good indication of progress being made. Approximately 600 workers, including EPA and agencies, remain onsite.
Wildlife response efforts continue as well. More than 2,200 animals have been rehabilitated and successfully released into their natural habitat. Although the majority of captured and treated wildlife have been released, approximately 485 turtles will remain at the Wildlife Response Center over the winter where they will be cared for by a team of wildlife experts. Some of these turtles did not meet medical requirements for release, but most were captured too close to the winter season to be released in time to hibernate for the winter. The Wildlife Response Center will remain operational and prepared to respond to reports of oiled wildlife until the spring.
Our team of employees is continuing to review the needs of affected families and properties and to provide appropriate assistance. To date, there have been more than 3,000 visits to our community centers in Marshall and Battle Creek, and more than 10,600 calls have been received through the public information hotline. We have purchased 25 homes owned by impacted residents through our home buyout program.