Witness recounts Wis. oil pipeline burst

Aug. 2, 2012 at 7:10 AM
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HOUSTON, Aug. 2 (UPI) -- A witness to the rupture of an oil pipeline in Wisconsin told an emergency dispatcher the pipeline spewed "like an oil well"

Line 14 of the Lakehead oil pipeline system burst, releasing around 1,200 barrels of crude oil last week near Grand Marsh, Wis.

Kristin Wettsein, who lives near the site of the release, told an emergency dispatcher the pipeline "just blew like an oil well," reports InsideClimate News.

The report states the rupture occurred along a weld seam on the pipeline. Jennifer Smith, a spokeswoman for Houston pipeline operator Enbridge, said the damaged section of the pipeline was removed for investigation.

She said a remote sensor detected a drop in pipeline pressure and triggered alarms at the Enbridge control center in Edmonton, Canada.

A report from the U.S. National Transportation Board recounted a similar narrative during its investigation into the Lakehead system release in Michigan in 2010.

The U.S. government issued a corrective action order against Enbridge that bars it temporarily from restarting the Wisconsin pipeline.

Enbridge officials stressed that safety was their top priority. U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said incidents like last week's spill were "absolutely unacceptable."

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