August 27, 2014 - Brandon Twp.- Two years after Enbridge began putting in the new Line 6B oil pipeline in the township, some residents are still waiting for the promised restoration of their property.
Phase two of the project, which adds three more miles of pipeline in the township and a pump station, in addition to the three miles of pipeline installed in 2012-2013, is well underway. But residents are still waiting for the multi-billion dollar petroleum pipeline company to finish the job from phase one.
Township Supervisor Kathy Thurman has received complaints over the last couple months from residents regarding ground settling on their property and drain-age and driveway issues as a result of placement of the new pipeline.
"(Enbridge) did restoration last fall," she said. "Now I've heard of how trees planted have died, and there are low areas where pipeline was buried because of ground settling."
She is referring residents with problems with the pipeline to Bob DeFrain, chief construction engineer for Hubbell, Roth and Clark and liaison between township residents and Enbridge.
"The majority of the complaints regarding final restoration is the grass isn't growing in and there are low areas that are holding water, ponds," DeFrain said. "Things that they didn't have prior to Enbridge that they have now."
DeFrain has been told that Enbridge has a final clean-up crew coming through, moving from the west to the east along the route which covers more than 200 miles total from Indiana to Sarnia, Ont.
"They are taking care of issues that have cropped up in the past year and they are fixing what they can fix as they go along," he said. "Once they get to the Ortonville pump station, they are hoping to be considered done with everything (in phase one). We are last on the route because they are moving west to east."
DeFrain expects the Enbridge "clean-up crew" to arrive by the end of this month or the beginning of September.
Don Scriven, a resident on Marsh Lane in the township, is still waiting for restoration of his property from repairs of the old Line 6B pipeline in 2011, the year after the original Line 6B ruptured in Marshall, Mich., causing the largest inland oil spill and environmental disaster in U.S. history.
The repairs in the year before Enbridge decided to replace the entire line caused settling to occur on Scriven's property.
"They said, in five to eight years, if it starts settling, call and we will refurbish back to the original characteristics," said Scriven. "2012 and 2013 passes and we are almost to the end of 2014 and still waiting... Here it is almost 2015 and I have this area that is pitted, washed out, settled way down."
Enbridge, he continued, sent a representative out a year ago to assess the situation. He spoke with another representative just three weeks ago. He still waits for something to be done, and meanwhile, his ire is raised by ET Rover, which has proposed putting in a natural gas pipeline on the back end of his property.
"A lot of people are sick and tired of it," he said. "We're waiting for the first pipeline company to bring things back to the way they promised. They haven't even finished and now we have another company."
DeFrain said Enbridge is required to get residents to sign off that they are satisfied with the condition their easement is in.
"A lot of these things just take time," he said. "They cut down all the trees and they won't replace trees over this pipeline... If residents think they're getting a forest, that's not what is going to happen. Can they fix areas where there is ponding? Yes, with minor grading. If they want more trees to screen from the area, Enbridge will do that in certain locations, just not over the pipeline."
Susan covers Brandon Township and Ortonville