The Canadian company Enbridge announced that it had discovered four spots on an oil pipeline in Michigan’s Straits of Mackinac where protective coating has worn away, leaving bare metal exposed.
The Associated Press reports the company said crews noticed the spots this month while installing screw anchors to secure sections of its Line 5, a pipeline that sits at the bottom of the Straits where Lake Huron and Lake Michigan meet.
Spokesman Ryan Duffy says they’ll be repaired. “Enbridge began its seasonal maintenance work for Line 5 in the Straits at the beginning of May and has already made significant progress with several scheduled activities. Crews have installed seven new steel screw anchors with 13 more to complete the current span management program.
As part of our pre-anchor installation work, crews inspecting the coating of the pipe found spots on the east segment of Line 5 worthy of further inspection. We immediately inspected the line with remotely operated vehicles and with divers and determined there are no integrity issues and Line 5 remains safe. Four locations will require coating repairs where there are bare metal spots ranging from .07 to .43 square feet (each is less than 6 square inches). The coating repairs are anticipated to take 5-10 days.”
Each spot is less than 6 square inches in size and will be repaired within the next 10 days, Duffy said, and he added, “Ultimately, the Great Lakes Tunnel is the best long-term solution for Line 5. We believe the tunnel is the best way to protect the community and the environmental integrity of the Great Lakes while safely meeting Michigan’s energy needs and ensuring Line 5 will be an integral part of Michigan’s future.”
The 67-year-old pipeline runs from Superior, Wisconsin, to Sarnia, Ontario. Enbridge previously has fixed several other places on the underwater pipelines with coating gaps.