UPDATE: Oil leak company has open investigation against it for using unqualified welders
Enbridge Energy says 365 barrels of crude oil spilled out-- as of Monday-- onto otherwise pristine farm land. Enbridge is under investigation by the government agency who inspects pipelines, the U.S. Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. The agency says in 2015, Enbridge was fined for using unqualified welders. Here is a link to that report: http://primis.phmsa.dot.gov/comm/reports/enforce/documents/420155016/420155016_NOPV%20PCP%20PCO_08252015.pdf
Enbridge now says it is adding monitoring for local wells and ground water in the area, on top of the air quality tests.
Enbridge says it doesn't think the 67-year-old pipeline needs to be replaced altogether.
For many long-time Ozarks natives, this harkens back to 1988: the largest inland oil spill in U.S. history. It happened along this same pipeline, right in our back yards, just north of Rolla.
Near Vienna, in Maries County, a half million gallons of crude oil spewed into the Gasconade River. Many people had to evacuate their homes because of dangerous fumes and potential fire.
The same pipe that failed then is the one that started leaking last Saturday in Lawrence County. It was built in 1950 and runs from Cushing, Okla., to Wood River, Ill. Enbridge bought the pipeline from Shell in 2005.
"We have engaged an environmental response contractor who handles a couple things for us, one of which is air quality monitoring, and another which is ground water quality monitoring, so we're taking steps to investigate the extent to determine if there is any impact to groundwater... at this time, we don't believe that there is," said David Hodgins, an onsite manager for Enbridge.
Cleanup efforts are continuing 24 hours a day. Enbridge anticipates it'll re-start pumping oil within a couple days.
The government agency that inspects pipelines, a division of the U.S. Department of Transportation, proposed a civil fine of more than $40,000. Its 2015 investigation is still open and being contested by Enbridge.