Enbridge reassures Niles residents safety has improved 7 years after oil spill

Enbridge reassures Niles residents safety has improved 7 years after oil spill. //WSBT 22 photo

It has been seven years since a major oil spill in the Kalamazoo River.

The company behind that spill says they've made progress.

An Enbridge pipeline ruptured seven years ago causing one of the biggest inland oil spills in the country.

In June 2010, a broken pipeline sent 800,000 gallons of oil into the Kalamazoo River. Parts of the river were closed for two years, and Enbridge paid more than a billion dollars in recovery efforts.

"That was the most difficult time we've ever had in the company's history, and the company's really been transformed since then,” says Enbridge spokesperson Ryan Duffy.

Thursday, the company met with community members in Niles to let them know what they are doing to prevent another spill.

Enbridge wants the community to know about their new safety measures. The company is hosting community meetings throughout Michigan to answer questions.

Michael Studer lives right down the road from the company's pump station. He says he is still concerned about his backyard.

"The fear still exists. I watch who goes down my street. The last thing on my street is a pump station that's spewing 10,000 barrels of oil an hour,” Studer says.

Enbridge says new protocols and detailed emergency response plans make the area better protected against future spills. The company also had a special presentation for emergency responders. Endbridge says it’s important to be connected with all parts of the community.

"It's critical for us to have a relationship not only with first responders but also local, community, state and federal agencies, and again it comes down to assuring people are aware of our system, aware of our products,” said Enbridge Emergency Management Manager Stephen Lloyd.

The company says the programs are also about rebuilding confidence. Enbridge says it has a number of safety projects in Michigan planned for this summer and is planning more community meetings throughout Michigan.

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