Enbridge is facing a new penalty from the US Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Administration for not inspecting a pipeline branch in Ohio and Michigan. The decision by the PHMSA comes just after a couple of days after the agency acknowledged that Enbridge had paid the civil penalty for the Marshall, Michigan oil spill with a wire transfer to the US Treasury of $3,699,200 on August 12. It was the Marshall pipeline breach and spill that led to bitumen entering the Kalamazoo River.
The new proposed penalty is much lower, just $68,000. It relates to the PHMSA inspection of Enbridge’s Toledo pipeline between July 12 and July 15, 2010.
The PHMSA says it found three alleged violations of federal pipeline safety regulations.
As well as the proposed civil penalty of $68,000, Enbridge Toledo is required to submit past records for inspections of subsequent overpressure safety devices and out-of-service tanks
The agency lists the violations as:
1. Failure to adequately inspect the right-of-way at a mainline valve location in Toledo as required by 49 CFR §195.412.
No proposed penalty — Warning Item.
1. Exceeding the maximum interval for inspection of 12 overpressure safety devices as required by 49 CFR §195.428.
Proposed penalty is $39,000 + PCO.
1. Exceeding the maximum interval for API 653 internal inspections of two breakout tanks located at Stockbridge, MI as required by 49 CFR §195.432.
Proposed penalty is $29,600 + PCO.
Enbridge can, if it wishes, challenge the NOPV (Notice of Possible Violation) in court. In the case of the original Marshall, Michigan, spill NOPV, Enbridge did not challenge the findings of the PHMSA and paid the penalty.
The new document sent to Enbridge by David Barrett, PHMSA Director, Central Region says that the company failed to perform internal inspections or establish a corrosion rate for the bottom plates of its tanks within the 10 year period as required by US regulations. It also says Enbridge failed to demonstrate that they had established a basis for the corrosion rate for the tank bottoms and exceeded the 10 year maximum internal inspection interval for unknown corrosion rates.
Additionally, Enbridge did not have similar service experience, or procedures to apply similar service experience available to make this inspection interval determination.
The PHMSA also says that Enbridge Enbridge failed to inspect its overpressure safety devices at intervals not exceeding 15 months, but at least once each calendar year. The inspection intervals exceeded the maximum 15 month interval by 14-24 days for the overpressure safety devices listed int the order.
The compliance order calls for Enbridge to submit documentation of all inspections performed on
each of the tanks and overpressure devices listed in the PHMSA order from 2010 to present. Enbridge has to internally inspect each of the tanks and to submit to the PHMSA documentation on the “safety improvement costs” needed to comply with the order.
As for the Marshall, Michigan spill, while Enbridge promptly paid the civil penalty, the PHMSA order notes
This Order does not resolve any existing or potential civil or criminal liability that Enbridge may have for any other violations of the federal Pipeline Safety Laws, or any regulations or orders issued thereunder, not specifically enumerated herein. Further, this Order does not resolve any existing or potential civil or criminal liability that Enbridge may have for violations ofany other federal laws arising from or otherwise related to the events or conduct giving rise to this Order or
to the consequences or damages resulting from the Failure.