MACKINAW CITY, Mich. (AP) — Enbridge Inc. said Monday that it retrieved a 45-foot steel rod that was resting against an underwater oil pipeline where lakes Michigan and Huron converge.
The debris had been at the bottom of the Straits of Mackinac since September, when a borehole collapsed during geotechnical work in advance of the construction of a tunnel to surround the Line 5 pipes. Enbridge deployed a remote-operated vehicle to remove the rod on Saturday night, said spokesman Ryan Duffy.
“Favorable weather conditions at the Straits in recent weeks prevented the water from icing over, providing Enbridge a window of opportunity to complete this work,” he said.
The rod had moved from its original position near the pipeline and was found resting on the west leg. It never posed a safety or environmental risk to Line 5, the water or ship traffic, Duffy said.
The Canadian-based company’s initial decision to wait two months to report the incident irked state regulators.
The twin pipes are part of Line 5, which 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.
Under an agreement with the state, 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.