Officials are investigating a possible oil spill after contaminated soil was found near the site of an Enbridge pipeline in northwestern Wisconsin.
According to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Enbridge reported Wednesday that a contractor had found suspected contaminated soil while working on the Line 5 pipeline.
The soil was found south of Ashland near Old Airport Road and Holmes Road, which is around a mile west of Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Chippewa reservation.
Enbridge told the DNR the contamination was from a "historical discharge" and not an ongoing release.
The soil in question was evacuated and stockpiled, and Enbridge will be required to submit documentation to the DNR on the steps it takes to address the suspected contamination.
DNR officials on site did not find additional petroleum odors or soil staining, and Enbridge says it did not find evidence of a leak when the pipeline was shut down.
Line 5 travels from Superior, Wisconsin through Michigan's Upper Peninsula, under water on the Straits of Mackinac, and through the northern reaches of Michigan before ending in Sarnia, Ontario.
It transports 540,000 barrels a day of light crude oil, light synthetic crude oil, and natural gas liquids that are refined into propane, which Enbridge says supplies 55% of the propane demand in Michigan, and 65% of propane needs in the Upper Peninsula.
In a statement to Bring Me The News, Enbridge says a "trace amount of product was found during scheduled system maintenance" on Line 5.
"Enbridge crews working Wednesday morning at a valve site in the Town of Gingles in Ashland County detected a small amount of product in the soil," it added. "Response crews were dispatched immediately to inspect the area, finding a trace amount of product, and as a precaution Line 5 was shut down. Local authorities and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) were notified.
"Yesterday crews continued to investigate the origin of the impacted soil, excavating around the valve and pipe, following our protocols and all regulatory requirements."
Line 3 aquifer breach spilling water again
Enbridge is the company behind the controversial Line 3 pipeline replacement project across northern Minnesota, which is carrying millions of gallons of crude oil from tar fields in Canada to a terminal in Superior, Wisconsin.
The company has come under fire after aquifer breaches caused water spills at three areas of construction – one of which is once again discharging water.
According to the Star Tribune, environmental advocates and tribal members revealed that the water is coming from one of the aquifer breaches that was supposedly fixed last year – near LaSalle Creek in Hubbard County.
Waadookawaad Amikwag, or Those Who Help Beaver, has been involved in movements against the project’s environmental impacts. The organization released a video Wednesday that shows thermal imaging of the suspected breach in the area where groundwater continues to bubble to the surface.
The DNR confirmed to the Star Tribune that the breach was flowing at about 20 gallons per minute, or at about one-fifth of the volume when it was first addressed. The DNR says it's working on "ongoing comprehensive enforcement action" against Enbridge.
The two other aquifer breaches reported last year were found in St. Louis County and Clearwater County. The Hubbard County breach released around 9.8 million gallons of groundwater from the site last year alone, according to the Minnesota DNR.
Of the water spill, Enbridge said that the "increase in groundwater flow from a seep" was discovered following surface water monitoring stemming from the most recent repair of the aquifer breach.
"A Supplemental Corrective Action Plan is being developed in coordination with the state agencies," Enbridge said.