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Enbridge Energy notifies EPA that they haven’t finished Kalamazoo cleanup

Enbridge Energy Partners has notified the EPA that it has not completed the cleanup of an estimated 200 acres of submerged oil along the bottom of the Kalamazoo River.

The oil company, whose pipeline ruptured at the end of July 2010, spewing between 800,000 and a million gallons of tar sands oil into Talmadge Creek and the Kalamazoo River in Calhoun county, had been ordered earlier this year to complete the submerged oil removal no later than Aug. 31.

The Kalamazoo Gazette reports that this deadline will not be met by Enbridge.

On Monday, Enbridge notified the EPA in a letter that “it would not be able to comply with the August 31, 2011 deadline … to complete recovery of all submerged oil, oil sheen, oil-containing soils and oil-containing sediments,” according to a statement from the EPA.

The federal agency said it will continue to evaluate Enbridge’s progress and investigate why it did not meet Wednesday’s cleanup deadline.

Enbridge spokesman Jason Manshum said that the Alberta, Canada-based company was unable to meet the deadline for numerous reasons, including environmental factors, and that the scope of the cleanup grew over the summer.

Interestingly, while government officials were discussing the deadline at the one year anniversary indicating they believed it would be reached, Enbridge was requesting a change to operational hours on the river. On July 27, the company asked to increase clean up times to 14 hours a day, seven days a week. The EPA rejected the request, according to a letter to the company on the EPA website. Instead, Federal On-Scene Coordinator and Incident Commander Ralph Dollhopf recommended that Enbridge hire more clean up workers. The EPA letter indicated such an increase in work time could lead to “increased stress and fatigue on project staff and workers.”

Enbridge has to pay for all the clean up costs, including the wages of clean up workers.

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