Water from oil spill won't go into Lake County drains
Plans remain open for the water being cleaned up from the Michigan oil spill, a spokeswoman for the energy company that owns the pipeline said Tuesday.
"We don't know whether it will stay in the area, but the water is not going into a county drain or any drain," said Terri Larson, spokeswoman for Enbridge Energy.
News reports Monday stated 1.4 million gallons of the oil/water mix were being shipped back to Enbridge's Griffith operation where the oil would be separated from the water, and the water treated and released.
More than 800,000 gallons of oil that originated from the Griffith location leaked from a split pipeline into the Kalamazoo River on July 26.
Larson confirmed that the oil/water mix was being shipped to Enbridge's Hartsdale terminal, at Central Avenue and Division Street in Schererville, just south of the Griffith terminal at 1500 W. Main St.
"We're evaluating our options with the Environmental Protection Agency and other regulating agencies," Larson said, adding that the resultant treated water could remain in Northwest Indiana.
One option could be to hold the water in a fire pond on one of the company's sites to have available in the event of a fire.
Lake County Surveyor George Van Til said he was relieved to hear the treated water would not be released into any regulated county drains.
"I'm more comfortable after talking to their environmental section than I was 24 hours ago," Van Til said.
"They said they had no intention of putting any of the water in any public waterways," Van Til said.
The water, once treated, will be of "reasonable quality, but to be certain it has no polluting abilities. Their intent is to put nothing in a public drain," Van Til said.
Van Til said he was told the water would be disposed of on an EPA-approved site.
"I'm pleased about that," he said. "I was very concerned."
Enbridge "seemed very intent on trying to do not only the right thing but making sure the public understands they're trying to do the right thing," Van Til said.
Shane Yokom, a senior environmental analyst at Enbridge, said the oil would be siphoned off the water and the water would be run through a charcoal filter before being discharged.
Meanwhile, federal regulators in Marshall, Mich., have rejected an initial proposal by Enbridge Energy Partners to restart a pipeline that leaked oil into the Kalamazoo River in southern Michigan.
The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration says Tuesday it wants more safeguards in the restart plan. That includes investigation and possibly repair of other anomalies in the pipeline that runs from Griffith to Sarnia, Ontario.
Enbridge will have to revise its restart plan and it isn't known when pipeline service might be restored.
An estimated 820,000 to more than 1 million gallons escaped from the pipeline near Marshall in a leak reported July 26.
Enbridge and the Environmental Protection Agency say that cleanup is progressing well.