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Line 5 Halted Briefly Due to Wave Height

Thursday, December 7, 2017

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Days after entering into an agreement with Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder that includes provisions to shut down its Line 5 pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac during adverse weather conditions, Enbridge Energy did just that Tuesday (Dec. 5), according to state regulators.

On Nov. 28, Enbridge agreed to a number of new practices related to the 64-year-old liquids pipeline, which has come under fire over the past year due to concerns over its stability and the state of its protective coating. In addition to exploring options for the potential replacement of the stretch of twin pipeline that stretches under the Straits, the Canadian firm agreed to shut down operation any time waves reach more than 8 feet.

Mackinac Straits
Bridge Cam image courtesy of Mackinac Bridge Authority

Waves on the Straits of Mackinac reached 9 feet Tuesday and Wednesday, leading Enbridge to shut down its Line 5 underwater pipeline per a new agreement with the state of Michigan.

On Tuesday morning, NOAA weather forecasting indicated waves of about 9 feet, and a gale warning continued through Wednesday. Enbridge reportedly shut down the pipeline for about four hours Tuesday morning and afternoon before resuming operation.

Residents, environmentalists and lawmakers have expressed concerns over the pipeline, especially in light of revelations over the past year regarding the loss of protective coating on some areas of the pipeline under the straits.

A report issued earlier this year by the National Wildlife Federation, authored by former Dow Chemical engineer and fluid dynamics expert Edward Timm, held that “certain sections of the twinned sections of Line 5 under the Straits may be only one peak current event away from catastrophic failure.”


Tagged categories: Coating failure; Government; NA; North America; Pipeline; Pipelines; Program/Project Management

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