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Workers clean oil from the banks of the Kalamazoo River in Marshall, Mich., in July after an Enbridge pipeline ruptured. (Kevin Van Paassen/Kevin Van Paassen/The Globe and)
Workers clean oil from the banks of the Kalamazoo River in Marshall, Mich., in July after an Enbridge pipeline ruptured. (Kevin Van Paassen/Kevin Van Paassen/The Globe and)

Enbridge cleanup continues Add to ...

Workers for Enbridge continue to truck away oil from a major pipeline leaking in an industrial park in Romeoville, Ill.

The company has isolated the section of pipe that ruptured on Friday, and is now conducting a "drain-up" operation that involves sucking oil from the leak site and two other locations.

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But Enbridge still cannot say how much oil spilled from beneath a roadway in an accident that has seen the company halt crude flowing through its 670,000 barrel-a-day Line 6A, a major component of its North American network.

The pipeline closing comes as Enbridge continues to wait for approval from the U.S. Office of Pipeline Safety to restart operations on Line 6B. That line has been closed since July 26, when a rupture spilled crude into an important Michigan river system, and Enbridge has spent weeks attempting to prove that the now-repaired line is safe, in order to secure approval to resume operations.

It must secure a similar approval before it can restart Line 6A, and the company cannot say how long that will take. Workers began excavating the compromised Illinois pipe late Saturday, and continued with that work Sunday. Trucks are being used to vacuum out the remaining oil from the line, and crude is no longer flowing down a drainage ditch and into a storm-water retention pond, where it initially spilled.

"What we're focused on now is the cleanup, and then we will do the repair," Enbridge spokeswoman Gina Jordan said on Sunday. "And we will work to develop a restart plan."

Line 6A is an important feeder for refineries in the Chicago area, but Ms. Jordan said "there are other sources of crude oil in this area, including storage. We're working with [customers]to try and mitigate any impacts to their business."

She declined to comment on allegations that the consecutive leaks may indicate a broader problem with the company's pipeline-maintenance program.

"It would be simply too early to speak to any indications as to the cause," she said.

 

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