200-foot long broken underwater pipe stuck in straits

The broken section of pipe in the Straits of Mackinac in Michigan is far more extensively damaged then initially reported. A 200-foot-long broken boring pipe remains embedded at the bottom of the Straights and Enbridge Inc. now says it might not be able to recover the pipe.

The company was able to recover a broken 45-foot rod last month and told state regulators a pipe of similar length was still underwater. But a report by the Detroit Free Press indicated this week the leftover pipe is actually 200 feet in length.

Enbridge last week reported the length to the Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy, known as EGLE, the newspaper said according to the Associated Press.

The broken pipe was related to a project last summer. A borehole collapsed while Enbridge was performing geotechnical work as part of a plan to eventually protect the Line 5 pipeline with a tunnel. Line 5 carries crude oil and natural gas liquids used to make propane. The underground line runs between Superior, Wisconsin, and Sarnia, Ontario. The Straits of Mackinac segment is divided into two adjacent pipes. The Straits connect lakes Michigan and Huron.

Under an agreement with Michigan, Enbridge will shut down the underwater segment of Line 5 and replace it with a single pipe housed in a concrete-walled tunnel to be drilled through bedrock beneath the straits.

Critics, however, want Line 5 to be permanently shut down.


Source:  Associated Press