EPA Asks Enbridge for Missing Data

  • The Kalamazoo River on July 30, 2010, after the Enbridge pipeline broke. (Photo courtesy of the State of Michigan)

The Environmental Protection Agency is asking the company responsible for last year’s oil spill in the Kalamazoo River for information they say is missing.
Last summer an Enbridge Energy pipeline ruptured, releasing more than 840,000 gallons of tar sands oil. Cleanup is still underway. Lindsey Smith reports the data were supposed to be gathered in the spring:

Last spring after the snow and ice melted, cleanup efforts on the Kalamazoo River really ramped up. The EPA came up with a plan to monitor air quality. The agency directed Enbridge to collect air samples to look for contaminants that could have been stirred up during the spring cleaning. Enbridge also was supposed to collect weather data so the EPA knew the conditions when the samples were taken.

Ralph Dollhopf heads EPA’s Incident Command for the Enbridge spill. He says some of that weather data is missing.

“It’s not necessarily a bad thing but we want to make sure that we understand the complete situation.”

Dollhopf says they’re asking Enbridge to supply the missing data or explain why it’s missing.

Marshall resident Susan Connolly says she’s disappointed, but not surprised the data Enbridge is responsible for gathering could be missing.

“That would be just like letting a pedophile babysit a child. I mean why would you let the person that caused the pipeline to spill to be the ones to monitor?”

The EPA oversees the cleanup.

An Enbridge spokesman says the company has not received the EPA’s notice yet so he declined to comment for now.

For the Environment Report, I’m Lindsey Smith.

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State officials say they’ve discovered a virus for the first time in wild fish in Michigan. It’s called koi herpesvirus.

Gary Whelan is with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

He says the virus might have contributed to the death of several hundred common carp in Kent Lake last June. Whelan says the virus is known to affect common carp, goldfish and koi. And it can be fatal.

He says this virus led to die-offs of several thousand carp in Ontario a few years ago.

“They had thousands of large adult dead carp floating up on people’s front yards, so that’s not a good situation to be in.”

Michigan officials are investigating whether the virus could affect native fish, such as minnows.

Whelan says koi herpesvirus was previously detected eight years ago in a private koi pond in Grand Rapids.

The letter the EPA sent to Enbridge

More about koi herpesvirus

A recent Detroit Free Press series about Asian carp


He says this virus could’ve turned up in Kent Lake after someone released an infected fish into the lake.

“You know probably somebody dumped their goldfish that was infected or maybe a carp escaped out of a pond during a flood period.”

Whelan says it’s illegal to move live fish from one body of water to another. And it’s just a bad idea.

He says the virus does not cause any health effects in people.

Crews in Chicago are on the hunt for Asian carp this week. The term Asian carp refers to two species: bighead and silver carp. The crews are looking for the carp in Lake Calumet, which is linked by a river to Lake Michigan. Asian carp have been found in the rivers that feed into Lake Michigan from Illinois.

John Rogner is the assistant director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. He says they’re looking for live carp after finding carp DNA in Lake Calumet.

He says it could mean there are live Asian carp in the lake.

“But there are some other possibilities. One is that there is DNA that comes upstream from downriver from boat hulls; it might be coming from restaurants in parts of Chicago that come out through the storm sewers.”

Some restaurants in the city serve Asian carp, so waste water could contain DNA from the fish. Rogner says people could also be releasing live carp into the lake, even though that’s illegal.

He says so far this week, they have not found any live bighead or silver carp in Lake Calumet.

That’s the Environment Report. I’m Rebecca Williams.