The new replacement plan for Enbridge Energy’s Line 6B crude oil pipeline
met with the approval of the County Drainage Board on Monday, regarding how
the new line will cross two county regulated drains in Liberty and Pine
A group from Enbridge’s office in Griffith attended the drainage board
meeting seeking permission to install new pipe under the county-regulated
Johnson Ditch just south of Chesterton, east of Ind. 49 on CR 900N and Arm
12 of Kemper Ditch near Burdick Road before it enters LaPorte County.
Community Relations Advisor for Enbridge Jennifer Smith said the company
proposes to replace the existing 30” pipeline laid in the late 1960s with a
36” line that will have double the wall thickness (.5 inches). The line, she
said, would be placed open cut at a depth of five feet below the channel
which County Surveyor Kevin Breitzke regarded as “sufficient.”
Drainage Board President Dave Burrus said the board is no the entity to
approve the replacement project but has the authority to give Enbridge
permission to cross the regulated drains.
The 6B line intersects a total of seven drain crossings in the county
including tributaries of Salt Creek, Coffee Creek and Damon Run, but only
Johnson Ditch and Kemper Ditch are county-regulated.
Burrus inquired whether the new pipeline would require casings. Enbridge
engineering and construction manager Marc DeVarennes said that is something
the company does not regularly do because of maintenance issues like
corrosion but the pipeline’s wall thickness will be increased to at some
Enbridge will also implement restoration efforts once the new line is
placed. Clearing and grading will come first, DeVarennes said, and the
topsoil is piled onto the pipe once it is tested for strength and placed in
the ground. Through its “Tree for a Tree” program, Enbridge will plant a new
tree for every single tree removed. The trees will be planted to maintain
the natural slopes and enhance erosion control, Smith said.
DeVarennes added that Enbridge will also reconnect any field tiles that may
be broken during construction.
Board member and Liberty Twp. resident Ed Gutt said he does not object to
the pipeline replacement plan and felt it would be good for the area to have
the line upgraded. He said that communication between the two groups should
be upheld and the county should make inspections.
“There needs to be some communication between you (Enbridge) and us to make
sure these streams are functional,” said Gutt.
Burrus also advocated that Enbridge share its maps with the county highway
department and its Hazardous Material team.
Enbridge looks to begin construction in September after it acquires its many
federal and state permits and hopes the work in Indiana can be completed by
the end of the year, Smith said.
The existing 6B line will remain in the ground and will be deactivated by
Enbridge under regulations by the Office of Pipeline Safety within the U.S.
Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety
Administration. Smith said removing the line is being avoided because it
would cause significant impacts on the environment and disturb the
The line would be cleaned by removing residual oils and then filling them
with an inert gas such as nitrogen, Smith said and added that the pipe will
still be monitored on a regular basis.
Line 6B runs from Lake County, Ind., to Ontario, Canada, replacing 50 miles
in Indiana and 160 miles in Michigan. The nearly $2 billion project
according to Enbridge is to reduce future maintenance activities and to meet
increased demands from shippers.
The project has drawn attention from the Save the Dunes organization which
pushed an online petition to allow the public to scrutinize the effort in
light of recent ruptures of Enbridge oil pipelines. Save the Dunes asked
that more public information sessions be held.
Smith mentioned two sessions will occur over the next few days, the soonest
being this Thursday at the Valparaiso Public Library hosted by the Indiana
Department of Natural Resources. A public hearing will be held at 4 p.m. in
Meeting Room B of the library on the topic of Enbridge seeking a number of
permits from the DNR.
Enbridge will also be giving a formal presentation to the Environmental
Management and Planning Committee of the Regional Planning Commission on
Sept. 6 in Portage.
The company was also asked by County Commissioner Nancy Adams, R-Center, to
give the presentation at an upcoming county board of commissioners meeting.
An open house was held by Enbridge in June at the LaPorte County Complex and
land agents are continuing to contact landowners by mail, over the phone or
face-to-face. The hotline number to speak with an Enbridge land agent is
In her presentation, Smith said Enbridge has a safety delivery record of
more than 99.99 percent and invested $400 million in upgrades and
improvements last year. For 2012, it anticipates more than $800 million will
be invested in integrity and safety programs.
Meanwhile, Breitzke said the Enbridge pipeline is one of many underground
lines that move through Porter County and a substantial portion of them
carry either oil or natural gas. Pipelines connecting to the East Coast are
prevalent through Northwest Indiana because of the proximity to Chicago and
Lake Michigan, he said.