Enbridge updates community on dredging plans

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) – It has been nearly four years since an Enbridge pipeline burst and spilled more than 800,000 gallons of crude into the Kalamazoo River and tributaries near Marshall. Wednesday, the company demonstrated how its cleanup efforts are continuing.

Oil is seen in a river along 15 Mile Road near Marshall after an Enbridge pipeline burst. (2010 file photo)

Oil is seen in a river along 15 Mile Road near Marshall after an Enbridge pipeline burst. (2010 file photo)

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has ordered Enbridge to remove sediment from the delta and Morrow Lake, according to a March 2013 Administrative Order. The EPA is also requiring Enbridge to submit site plan applications to Comstock Township for three separate sites for dredge pad activities. A dredge pad is where sediment and water is separated and the sediment is transported to an approved landfill.

The company was blindsided by a setback last year when it was denied permission to dredge at a site in Comstock Township. Now, company officials say they’re doing what they should have done last summer — making their case with neighbors and officials.

They say their experience at the other dredge sits helps their arguments.

“What we’ve found is the impact on surrounding stakeholders has been very little up to this point,” Enbridge Vice President Richard Adams said.

Enbridge also required to keep the public informed of the latest developments. So officials from the Calgary, Alberta-based oil company held a news conference at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Kalamazoo County Expo Center.

Booms are seen along the Kalamazoo River at Custer Drive in Battle Creek, part of the cleanup effort from the Enbridge oil spill. (Sept. 23, 2010)

Booms are seen along the Kalamazoo River at Custer Drive in Battle Creek, part of the cleanup effort from the Enbridge oil spill. (Sept. 23, 2010)

Representatives brought models and pictures, as well as a cutaway of the material being put under the dredge pad sites and pieces of the thick material being used to prevent groundwater contamination.

They also showed how contaminated material from the river bottom is being pumped into enormous bags, dried and then shipped to a landfill.

“All the runoff is piped and controlled and then it’s treated,” Adams explained.

In filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Enbridge says the cleanup is expected to cost more than $1 billion. The company also expects to pay $22 million for violations of the federal Clean Water Act.

Site plan applications go before the Comstock Township Planning Commission beginning Feb. 17.

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