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Friday, August 20, 2010

Updates on the Enbridge oil spill in Michigan

Enbridge executives provided updates on clean-up activities in Michigan at a news conference yesterday:

Patrick Daniel, President & CEO, Enbridge Inc.
We continue to make very good progress on clean-up at the leak site and also along Talmadge Creek and we're now well underway with clean-up on the Kalamazoo River as well.

I was at the Ceresco Dam and also visited Heritage Park yesterday and the river is significantly improved at those locations from what it was a week, two weeks or three weeks ago.

The primary clean-up on the banks of Talmadge Creek is now over half complete and we continue to make very good progress in preparing the lower half of the creek shoreline to be scraped and cleaned as well.

We're also, of course, very pleased that our eight work plans have now been approved by EPA.

Personally I continue to work very closely with residents in the most directly impacted areas. These are people whose lives and routines have been temporarily disrupted by the spill and now by the workers and the equipment and the noise associated with the clean-up, but thankfully that is starting to lessen in many areas.

The number of visits to our Battle Creek and Marshall Community Centers continue to decline. Some are coming in of course to file claims which are being handled while others have come in simply for information with regard to the spill and I remind residents that the facility is available for both purposes.

Since the voluntary evacuation was lifted for all residents, many of the people who chose to evacuate are beginning to leave the area hotels now and return to their homes which is also very good news. We look forward to getting this community resettled in advance of school starting later this month and, as indicated earlier, relocating our emergency response facilities out of the school.
Steve Wuori, Executive Vice President, Liquids Pipelines, Enbridge Pipelines Inc.

I'll just talk about a couple of areas. One is the Talmadge Creek clean-up which is progressing very quickly and, as Pat said, is over half complete in terms of the excavation so far. We're moving that very quickly because we really want to reduce the heavy equipment traffic as we head toward the end of the month as much as we possibly can and that's why the activity is so intense. We are now west of I69 and working our way down toward the Kalamazoo River in terms of the final scraping of that area.

In terms of the river, in addition to the comments that Mark Durno from the EPA made earlier I'll just note that the river has been sectioned into quarter mile sections that have been individually assessed. There's a shoreline assessment process that is looking at the shoreline on both sides of the river and that's now been completed.

Up until this point most of the work has been removal of oiled vegetation along the shoreline and now we'll move to the second stage of the clean-up which is working on the soils themselves and the lower vegetation, grasses and so on. So, that's what's really happening along the river and there will be a continual intensity of workforce out there now working on those individual areas as we've identified them.

There was a question on the earlier call with regard to the work near Albion and I can confirm that that is one of the dig sites that we are working on in preparation for the test of the line. That's near the community of Albion. It's a very wet location so we had to drive sheet piling and we're de-watering that sheet piling area right now and preparing to examine the pipe. So, I think that addresses the question about what was happening in the Albion area.