Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Enbridge to replace 75 miles of pipeline that ruptured in Michigan

MARSHALL,, Mich. - Enbridge says it needs to replace 75 miles of pipeline across Southern Michigan and northern Indiana.

About five miles of new pipeline would go in near Marshall, where a fracture last year resulted in over 800,000 gallons of heavy Canadian crude spilling out into the last relatively unspoiled section of the Kalamazoo River.

Stretches of pipe in Cass, St. Joseph, northern Indiana and Southeast Michigan would also be replaced.

Before the repairs can be made, the Michigan Public Service Commission will have to hold public hearings.

Enbridge is preparing for the series of hearings beginning with a pre-hearing conference Sept. 21 in Lansing, said MPSC spokeswoman Judy Palnau.

According to Enbridge spokesman Joe Martucci, the company has put in two different requests related to replacement of parts of Line 6B - the pipeline responsible for the leak last July in Fredonia Township.

The first request is to replace a 50-mile segment of Line 6B east of Stockbridge.

The second is to replace three five-mile segments east of Enbridge's pump stations in Niles, Mendon and Marshall, for a total of 15 miles of pipeline replacements.

The segment in Marshall will include the part of the pipe that ruptured on July 25, 2010, although the specific site of the rupture was replaced after the spill.

Enbridge also replaced pipe segments totaling 1.5 miles in Livingston and Oakland counties in February and March and completed a 3,500-foot section of pipe replacement under the St. Clair River in June, Martucci said. But this project, expected to cost the company $286 million, would be much larger.

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