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Past Enbridge Data Shows Line 5 Supports and Anchors Were Too Far Apart In Consecutive Years

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A report from Enbridge Energy shows Line 5 supports were too far apart in multiple inspection years.

Enbridge has since decreased the gap between those supports, but could those previous years have an effect on the pipeline?

“The 75 foot distance was certainly created for a reason, I’m not an engineer, but I do know when you create those sorts of distances that’s for safety,” says Freshwater Future Executive Director Jill Ryan.

Years of underwater inspection data by Enbridge Energy, shows hundreds of instances where sections between pipeline supports spanned longer than 75 feet.

A potential violation of the easement agreement between Enbridge and the State.

“If the company knew that, which they did if they put it in the report, then they weren’t following the easement for this lease,” added Jill.

Freshwater future says the pipes are under constant pressure from underwater currents, a distance exceeding 75 feet between those supports, could be a safety concern.

“When you’re talking a couple hundred feet of distance that thing may start swaying under there as the waves or the currents move and that is of grave concern,” explained Jill.

Enbridge issued the following statement in regards to the data.

“Data from our inspections of Line 5 shows that the longer span lengths did not affect the integrity of the twin pipelines. Currently all spans along Line 5 in the Straits are in full compliance with our easement agreement with the State."  

Data recorded in 2016 shows all span lengths are now under 75 feet, supporting Enbridge’s claims.

But, Jill and others fear that the past has already taken its toll.

“Once you let things go for a longer period of time then you don’t know what happened down there all that time, you could really get the current potentially weakening that pipe,” says Jill.