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EPA Response to Enbridge Spill in Michigan

Response History

Enbridge Energy Partners LLP (Enbridge) reported a 30-inch pipeline ruptured on Monday, July 26, 2010, near Marshall, Michigan. The release, estimated at 843,000 gallons, entered Talmadge Creek and flowed into the Kalamazoo River, a Lake Michigan tributary. Heavy rains caused the river to overtop existing dams and carried oil 35 miles downstream on the Kalamazoo River.

As the federal agency in charge of the response to the spill, EPA assumed a leadership role in the Unified Command and mobilized an Incident Management Team made up of federal, state and local agencies.

On July 27, the day after the spill was reported, EPA issued a legal order under the authority of the Clean Water Act directing Enbridge to conduct removal actions. EPA also ordered the company to produce documents and information relevant to EPA's investigation into the source, extent and nature of the oil spill.

On July 28, 2010, the spill was contained approximately 80 river miles from Lake Michigan.

Map showing river closures.

The map above lists plans for river closures as of March 2014.

Dredging to Continue in 2014 at Morrow Lake and the Delta

Map showing river closures

March 4, 2014 - March 4, 2014 - Under the Agency’s March 14, 2013, order, all cleanup work including dredging at three major impoundment areas, including Morrow Lake and Delta, had to be completed by Dec. 31, 2013. Because Enbridge failed to complete the required dredging on Morrow Lake and Delta, work will continue in 2014. The Agency is considering its enforcement options in light of the missed deadline.
On Feb. 17, 2014, Comstock Charter Township Planning Commission unanimously approved a dredge pad location for Enbridge to process dredged sediment. Enbridge plans to start the Comstock Township dredge pad construction in March. Enbridge now has the needed permits to build a dredge pad and conduct the lake and delta work to remove oil-contaminated sediment. Dredging in the lake and delta to remove oil-contaminated sediment is expected to continue throughout the summer. The permit granted by the township expires Nov. 30, 2014. The company’s original plan last year to set up a dredge pad in another location was met with local opposition, and the township denied the permit.

EPA and MDEQ experts chose dredging as the cleanup technique because it is the best and most proven way to eliminate the remaining recoverable oil and to remove oil that has collected in sediment traps. On Nov. 21, 2013, EPA denied Enbridge's request for a time extension to complete work required.

Work accomplished under March 2013 Order

Since March 2013 under EPA’s order, Enbridge has successfully removed oil and sediment from two of the three major impoundment areas identified in the order – Ceresco Dam and Mill Pounds – and from several smaller sediment trap locations. Sediment traps refer to natural or enhanced deposition areas that are monitored for accumulation of oiled sediment. There are 17 designated sediment traps in the affected section. Enbridge also continues to carry out sheen management, submerged oil removal and containment.

Overall Removals

Despite some operational setbacks, substantial levels of oil and oil-contaminated materials were removed from the river in targeted areas pursuant to EPA’s March 2013 order. From July 2013 to Feb. 10, 2014, those removals, measured in cubic yards, were:

Location Cumulative estimated dredge waste
Ceresco 128,065
Mill Ponds 21,978
Morrow Lake 880
Total 163,261 cubic yards

Planned Closures

Unfortunately, some areas of the river will be closed all or part of the recreation season. EPA will work to minimize the impacts of closures as much as possible. The map above lists plans for river closures as of March 2014. EPA will update this map as areas open for recreational use. The closures are necessary to protect both residents and workers from possible harm in work zones.

Photo Gallery

See some photos from the cleanup

Contact Us

EPA Marshall Field Office

  • 13444 Preston Drive
    Marshall, MI

  • 269-727-2511 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays

Comments or questions

Media Inquiries

Community Involvement Coordinator

Contractor Information

Information Repositories

Review documents related to the EPA Response to the Enbridge Spill in Michigan at these local libraries:

Marshall District Library
124 W. Green St.
Marshall, Mich.

Helen Warner Library
36 Minges Creek Place
Battle Creek, Mich.

Willard Public Library
7 Van Buren St. W.
Battle Creek, Mich.

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