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Posted on Mon, Apr 29, 2013 : 11:16 a.m.

Howell Township officials say damages to utility lines caused by Enbridge may reach $1M

By Amy Biolchini

Howell Township officials claim damages incurred to water and sewer lines breached during a replacement of Enbridge Energy LP's Line 6B in Livingston County could reach $1 million, according to media reports.

While Enbridge workers were boring under the roadway at the intersection of Burkhart Road and Grand River Avenue to install new pipeline, water and sewer lines were breached, township officials and the Livingston County Road Commission stated.

Enbridge is reviewing the incident to determine what caused the line breaks and who is responsible for fixing them, the Daily Press & Argus reported.

Enbridge Pipelines Toledo Inc. also is in the midst of constructing a new pipeline through the northwest corner of Washtenaw County -- Line 79 -- that's adjacent and parallel to an existing pipeline it owns and operates in the area. Both lines would get their crude oil from Line 6B.

The company initially said the project would be completed by early April, but weather complications have pushed the completion date in to early May.

Amy Biolchini covers Washtenaw County, health and environmental issues for Reach her at (734) 623-2552, or on Twitter.



Fri, May 3, 2013 : 2:57 p.m.

Enbridge Pipeline... to the future.(??!)


Fri, May 3, 2013 : 1:40 p.m.

It could well have been that Howell told Enbridge that there were no water and sewer lines in the area by ignoring the MIss Dig request or not having sufficient records of their location. But, it's so much more fun to blame big oil. And, yes, of course it could be Enbridge's fault too.


Fri, May 3, 2013 : 5:30 p.m.

I was referring to the comments, not the article.


Fri, May 3, 2013 : 5:25 p.m.

It's just being thorough.

Nicholas Urfe

Mon, Apr 29, 2013 : 6:35 p.m.

We need more regulation for companies that keep having accidents, again and again. Companies just pass along the costs of any small fines they may pay. Only jailing the executives will get results.


Mon, Apr 29, 2013 : 5:38 p.m.

This has to be Bush's and Synder's fault


Tue, Apr 30, 2013 : 11:22 a.m.

Oh please!

Nicholas Urfe

Mon, Apr 29, 2013 : 5:09 p.m.

One wonders whether they just kept on drilling after the initial breaches? Did they breach the sewer first, or the water? And who made the decsion to just keep going? How did the site plan take into account the right of way and the other users of that right of way? It sounds like there could have been criminal negligence.


Mon, Apr 29, 2013 : 6:35 p.m.

Mr Urfe - If you are running a large directional boring machine, you might be 300 to 500 feet from the boring head, you might not know for minutes to hours that you have breached something. Between being several feet underground and far enough away that it takes time to see any water fill the bore or come up through the ground. If they were directly under the highway, it may be that they could not have a spotter directly over the head of the boring machine without stopping traffic. The idea behind the boring machines is to disrupt what is on the surface as little as possible. Think about it, going under I-96 and having to surface trench - it would close the highway for a week one way at a time, by the time you broke up the cement, dug the ditch, put the pipes in, backfilled, and then did the work to replace the road surface. Boring, is much faster, safer and cheaper. It is the responsible thing to do. The big question is what was Enbridge told about existing infrastructure in the area. If they knew, they are at fault. If they did not and they asked, then they are not. But they both had to ask and be told there was nothing close to that area.

Nicholas Urfe

Mon, Apr 29, 2013 : 6:33 p.m.

Thanks for the downvotes! Big oil needs their paid lobbyists!

David Briegel

Mon, Apr 29, 2013 : 4:41 p.m.

Spill Baby Spill


Mon, Apr 29, 2013 : 3:46 p.m.

"Enbridge is reviewing the incident to determine what caused the line breaks and who is responsible for fixing them" - Now that is rich. The directional bore supervisor knows where the lead bit is exactly and it goes where he/she directs it. And it went through the existing infrastructure. The cause is simple; careless disregard for the existing infrastructure. One question would be did they alter an existing plan to expedite the installation? Was the $1 million cost of breaching the water and sewer of the community cheaper than the cost of a delay in getting the tar sands crude to market? When we are speaking of millions and billion in revenue on a $286 million dollar project, a simple million dollar charge is "pennies" on the scale of petroleum distribution. By the way, a consultant/contractor golden rule number one is NEVER ADMIT RESPONSIBILITY, which can be translated to say "(we are) reviewing the incident to determine what caused the line breaks."


Mon, Apr 29, 2013 : 3:44 p.m.

Western Michigan already has Enbridge to thank for a big oil spill: These guys are a class act.

Ann Dwyer

Mon, Apr 29, 2013 : 7:01 p.m.

I'm from Marshall. It was terrible.


Mon, Apr 29, 2013 : 3:53 p.m.

And this new pipeline starts at the location of another nearly unreported >500,000 gasoline release the the White Oak Township terminal, for which Embridge connects. This release was shortly after the release to the Kalamazoo River and nearly as large but barely a whisper.

Nicholas Urfe

Mon, Apr 29, 2013 : 3:32 p.m.

"Enbridge, meanwhile, has not confirmed whether it will accept financial responsibility for any of the damage." Typical. Profits first.

Usual Suspect

Tue, Apr 30, 2013 : 1:21 p.m.

And hate "BIG OIL!!!"

Usual Suspect

Tue, Apr 30, 2013 : 1:19 p.m.

Well, sure it's "clear" to people who believe they have everything figured out even when they have incomplete information.

Nicholas Urfe

Mon, Apr 29, 2013 : 6:30 p.m.

It is called taking responsibility. Something they clearly avoid. You break a sewer, and then a water main - it's gonna be pretty clear who is at fault.


Mon, Apr 29, 2013 : 6:29 p.m.

Mr Urfe - If the locator people did not put the lines on the maps, and did not flag the area, than no one was aware that the water and sewage lines were there. If they did flag them and note them on the maps, then Enbridge is responsible for the cost of fixing them. If they did not mark them on the map and they were not flagged, then Enbridge is not responsible. If Enbridge did not call to check, Enbridge is responsible. I remember when the gas company's installers blew up an electric transformer locally. It was the electric company's fault because even though the gas company had called Mis-Dig, the line was not marked, dozens of flags marked other lines, but not that one.

Usual Suspect

Mon, Apr 29, 2013 : 4:35 p.m.

Nothing wrong with making sure they're at fault first. Just because the county says they are doesn't mean it's the case. I'm not saying they're not, but there's nothing to be gained by jumping to conclusions (except for hate points against "BIG OIL!!!")