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