It looks like Enbridge Energy Partners learned something from the BP oil fiasco in the Gulf. The company appears to have taken full responsibility for the 840,000 gallon spill in the Talmadge Creek in Michigan Monday night.
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The company says the 30-inch pipeline, which carries about 8 million gallons of oil per day from Indiana to Ontario, suffered a malfunction underground. The pipeline pumps have since been shut down and the leak has been plugged.
“We never thought it would happen here,” said Danielle Korpalski, Midwest regional outreach coordinator for the National Wildlife Federation. “When people throughout Michigan responded to the Gulf oil spill with an outpouring of money, concern, and support for those who live on the Gulf, we never thought we would share that awful feeling of watching a massive oil slick flowing through our waters, coating our wildlife, killing fish, and fouling our coastline. We never thought we’d see evacuations in Michigan because of the fumes from an oil spill. And we never thought we’d see almost a million gallons of oil poised to flow into the Great Lakes. But today, that’s exactly what we’re seeing.”
The Talmadge Creek feeds the Kalamazoo River. Impact to wildlife in the area is not yet known, but officials are warning residents not to swim or fish in the river until further notice. Two homes near the leak have been evacuated and residents are complaining about the smell. The leak is affecting areas along the river from Marshall to Emmett Townships.
The pipeline is part of the Lakehead System, a 1,900 mile pipeline and the longest in the world.
Residents with concerns, or who have spotted an animal covered in oil can get more information by dialing 1-800-306-6837.
The Michigan spill is the latest of three major oil spills that have occurred this year, including the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico (Spill Update: July 27).
An oil spill as a result of a pipeline explosion at a port in China reached 165 square miles as of last week forcing nearby beaches to close.