Enbridge faces $68,000 fine for not inspecting pipeline branch in Ohio

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.

Link: PHMSA Inspection of Enbridge (Toledo) Pipeline Results in NOPV and Civil Penalty

PHMSA Final Order Marshall Michigan spill PDF

US pipeline agency slams Enbridge, calls for independent oversight of Wisconsin cleanup

The US agency that looks after pipelines, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, has issued an updated “Corrective Action Order” on the oil spill at Grand Marsh in Wisconsin, slamming Enbridge because the company’s “integrity management program may be inadequate.”

The order goes on to say:

PHMSA has communicated its longstanding concerns about this pattern of failures with Respondent [Enbridge] over the past several years. Given the nature, circumstances, and gravity ofthis pattern of accidents, additional corrective measures are warranted.

The Corrective Order tells Enbridge to file its cleanup plans with the PHMSA and to have its actions checked by an independent, outside agency.

Before the PHMSA allows Enbridge to restart Line 14, which runs from Superior, Wisconsin, to Mokena, Illinois, and is a part of the 1,900 mile-long Lakehead Pipeline system, which transports “hazardous liquid” from Neche, North Dakota, to Chicago, Illinois, with an extension to Buffalo,

Enbridge must (1) submit, for review and approval, a comprehensive written plan, including timelines for specific actions to improve the safety record of Respondent’s Lakehead pipeline system and (2) hire an independent third party pipeline expert to review and assess the written plan, which the third party will submit to PHMSA and to Respondent concurrently. Further, the third party expert must oversee the creation, execution and implementation of the actions identified in the plan, and must provide monitoring summaries to PHMSA and Respondent concurrently. Respondent must commit to address any deficiencies or risks identified in the third party’s assessment, including repair and replacement of high-risk infrastructure. The plan must be sufficiently detailed with specific tasks, milestones and completion dates.

At a minimum, the plan must address:
a. Organizational issues, including the promotion of a safety culture and creation of
a safety management system;
b. Facilities response plan;
c.Control room management;
d.Priorities for pipe replacement;
f.In-line inspection result interpretation;
g.Current engineering and probability of failure modeling;
h.Leak detection systems;
1.Sensor and flow measuring and valve replacement;
J.Integrity verification;
k.Quality management system; and
1.Any other risk, task, issue or item that is necessary to promote and sustain the
safety ofits pipeline system.

The agency notes also that

After receiving and analyzing additional data in the course of this investigation, PHMSA may identify other corrective actions that need to be taken. In that event, Respondent will be notified of any additional measures required and further amendment of the CAO will be considered. To the extent consistent with safety.

The order says Enbridge will be given an opportunity for a hearing prior to the imposition of any additional corrective measures.

The PHMSA  Corrective Order was issued about the same time as Canada’s National Energy Board announced that it was conducting its own safety audit of Enbridge operations.

PHMSA Amended Corrective Action Order_08012012