On August 4, the Friends of the Boyne River, along with six other environmental organizations, sponsored a presentation by Dr. Ed Timm at the Charlevoix Library entitled “Oil Spill in the Great Lakes? How Safe Are the Pipelines?”
He is a retired Senior Scientist and Consultant to Dow Chemical’s Environmental Operations Business who recently prepared an engineering opinion for the lawyers at FLOW (For Love of Water) on corrosion and structural issues with Line 5 pipeline, which runs from Superior, Wisconsin, through the Upper Peninsula, under the Mackinac Straits (where it splits into two pipelines), through lower Michigan to Port Huron, where it crosses the St. Clair River to its final destination at a refinery in Sarnia, Ontario. The pipeline covers 645 miles and crosses at least 45 waterways and 23 counties.
Dr. Timm explained that while the pipelines were well-built using state of the art technology in 1953, 62 years of corrosion, stress from the buffeting effects of strong currents in the Straits, loss of protective covering, structural impacts from zebra and quagga mussels on the pipeline exterior have taken their toll. The flow of oil through the pipelines has been increased 80% from its original recommended carrying capacity, further stressing the aging pipes. While Enbridge, Inc, owner of the pipelines, claims the lines are safe and in excellent condition, they are under no obligation to release results of their inspections to Michigan regulatory agencies or the public. Dr. Timm concluded that the Straits pipeline poses an unacceptable risk to our Great Lakes and that risk increases exponentially with each passing day. Over 100 people attended a presentation.
Below is a video that details the issues presented by Dr. Timm: