Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Double trouble: Latest Enbridge leak shuts down Line 6A in Illinois

ROMEOVILLE, Ill. - The odor of petroleum stretched for blocks in this Chicago suburb after a 34-inch Enbridge crude oil pipeline began to leak on Sept. 9.

Emergency workers and hazardous materials crews were called around 1 p.m. to the spill flowing steadily in an industrial area of Romeoville.

By 12:45 p.m., the pipe had been shut down and environmental cleanup crews began to arrive.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said that the pipeline was spewing oil at a rate of between 200 and 600 barrels per hour until the ruptured line is depressurized.

The U.S. EPA issued a legal compliance order to Enbridge to stop all oil being released by noon on Sept. 13.

The compliance order indicates the crude oil discharged into a storm drain and flowed to a drainage ditch leading to a two-acre pond.
"The retention pond flows into an unnamed tributary which then flows approximately a half-mile into the Des Plaines River," the EPA said in its compliance order. "The discharged oil has flowed to the local wastewater treatment plant which has been forced to shut down."

The EPA also noted that rain was predicted for the weekend, which would increase the risk of oil entering the river.

Enbridge was given 30 days by the EPA to repair the pipe.

The U.S. EPA said it would require Enbridge to drain down at least half of the 16,000 barrels of oil that remained inside the stretch of the Illinois pipeline between valves, and gave the Calgary-based pipeline operator an Oct. 9 deadline to bring the area affected by the spill "back to normal."

Enbridge said it would take some time before normal shipments could resume on the line, which was transporting 459,000 b/d before the leak.

Enbridge spokesman Larry Springer said later in the day that a clean-up crew has begun excavating the buried pipeline to drain down the remaining oil, Springer said. He said it was too early to know the magnitude of the spill or when the line could be repaired. More than 200 Enbridge responders and contractors were reportedly working on the cleanup and response.

Enbridge Energy Partners LP operates the Enbridge Lakehead System that transports Canadian crude oil to the U.S. T

The leaking 34-inch pipeline runs from Superior, Wis., to Griffith, Ind. The line transports about a third of the Canadian crude exported to the U.S.

What made the Romeoville accident doubly embarrassing for Enbridge was that crews were still cleaning up the company’s 19,500 bbl. Line 6B crude oil spill into the Kalamazoo River watershed in Michigan that began in late July.

Sources familiar with operations at BP Plc's 405,000 b/d Whiting, Ind., refinery, which is supplied by 6A, said the plant has crude in storage but declined to comment on how long those supplies would last if the outage continues.

In a press release, Romeoville officials said the village was notified of a liquid emanating from the ground at 719 Parkwood Ave. in the Romeoville Industrial Park. Village staff determined it was a petroleum-based substance coming from an underground Enbridge oil pipeline.

Officials said the village responded immediately, putting its emergency management plan into action. The Romeoville Fire Department enacted a second alarm hazardous materials incident plan.

No comments:

Post a Comment