Oil company may replace section of Cass County pipeline

Published 9:50 am Friday, October 7, 2011

A section of oil pipeline that runs through Cass County could be replaced in 2012.
Enbridge, a Canada-based oil pipeline company, is planning a maintenance and rehabilitation effort along parts of its Line 6B pipeline, which starts in Griffith, Ind., crosses through the Niles area and into southeast Michigan.
Pending obtaining the required environmental permits and regulatory approval, the company would replace about 75 miles of the pipeline, including a five-mile stretch just southeast of the city of Niles, according to Joe Martucci, Enbridge community relations consultant.
Martucci said the company is waiting on approval from the Michigan Public Service Commission. If it gets approval, the company would start construction in 2012.
Enbridge, responsible for one of the largest oil spills in Midwest history last year in the Kalamazoo River, does regular inspections of its pipelines to determine their condition and to identify signs of corrosion or damage.
“The engineers have inspection tools that they run inside the pipeline. They’re like robots that go through the pipeline and inspect it from the inside out,” Martucci said.
Martucci said the inspection led to predictions of a high number of repairs on particular segments of the pipeline, so Enbridge officials decided to replace those segments.
The Line 6B pipeline transports crude oil to refineries throughout the Midwest to be converted into gasoline.
Martucci said Enbridge is working with landowners and regulatory agencies as it moves throughout the process of the maintenance program.