CERESCO, Mich. – A pipeline company responsible for an oil spill three years ago in southwestern Michigan has purchased a dam along the Kalamazoo River and plans to remove nearly half of the structure, officials said.
Calgary, Alberta-based Enbridge Inc. plans to remove part of Ceresco Dam and add greenspace along the river by next spring, the Battle Creek Enquirer reported (http://bcene.ws/1777bKX ). The plans were discussed Thursday at a community meeting.
“What tonight is not about is whether or not the Ceresco Dam is going to be removed,” said John Sobojinski, director of Enbridge’s Michigan Remediation Project. “We’re beyond that.”
The project calls for the addition of river access points, picnic areas and to repurpose the dam’s existing buildings into possible public use. Landscaping will also be added along the river where water will be drawn down, according to project plans.
Christopher Haux, senior manager of operations at Enbridge, said about 40 per cent of the dam will be removed and there will be canoe and kayak access after completion.
Enbridge was approached by the state Department of Natural Resources this year to purchase the dam as the company began preparations to fulfil an order by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for additional dredging to clean up the river, the newspaper reported.
Enbridge has dredging operations upstream of the Ceresco Dam and the Mill Ponds area in Battle Creek. Work at the dam site could begin in days.
More than 800,000 gallons of oil spewed into the Kalamazoo River and a tributary creek after an underground pipeline that runs from Griffith, Ind., to Sarnia, Ontario, ruptured. Cleanup efforts from the spill have cost the company more than $1 billion.
It’s been years since the Ceresco Dam has produced power. County records previously showed that the dam, built in 1906, has been owned by Ceresco Power and Light since October 1999. Enbridge’s purchase of the dam was made official this month.
The EPA has ordered dredging to be completed by Dec. 31.
Information from: Battle Creek Enquirer, http://www.battlecreekenquirer.com