Pipeline Digging West of Woodstock

Interstate pipelines are regulated by the Federal government by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.

When a reader discovered pipeline digging in Bull Valley and sent me photos in late April, 2013, I couldn’t find anyone in a local government who knew anything about the work.

That might not sound important, but it seems to me that digging around a pipeline might lead to the need for some local emergency response in the worst case scenario.

Pipelines running though McHenry County.

Pipelines running though McHenry County.

As you can see from the above map, pipelines crisscross McHenry County.

Enbridge pipeline digging Tuesday.

Enbridge pipeline digging Tuesday.

Some, such as the one going through Cary along the Com Ed lines, are very old.

Big equipment was on the scene.

Enbridge did not make a secret of its identity. “CHARPS” seems to stand for “Eastern Canadian Refinery Access.”

Some, like the one Lakehead built, are not much more than a decade old.

Enbridge Digging 2 3-10-15

Heavy equipment was visible.

The really squiggly one is the one Lakehead constructed.  It is not straight because the Illinois Commerce Commission did not give it condemnation power.  (We can thank Merton Miller, a University of Chicago Nobel Laureate in Economics, for that.   The original pipeline route went through his wife’s land. You can read the court case here.)

Another view of the pipeline work.

Another view of the pipeline work.

It didn’t hurt the landowners’ case that it also traversed then-State Rep. Ann Hughes’ family’s land.

Lots of fog the day this work was occurring.

Lots of fog the day this work was occurring.

So, what’s happening?

Enbridge Digging 8 3-10-15 Hughes Rd

A sign on Hughes Road.

I started looking too late yesterday.


Pipeline Digging West of Woodstock — 5 Comments

  1. There is supposed to be a plan in place to notify local emergency response resources, in case of pipeline failure. Notification by pipeline operator seems to be voluntary, at operator’s discretion.

    PHMSA did not respond to voicemail questions about the dig site.

    Woodstock health department (water) knew nothing of the dig site but promised to look into the situation.

    “The PSA gives PHMSA authority to prescribe safety standards for emergency plans and procedures.121 Specifically, the PSA requires operators to develop “an emergency response plan describing the operator’s procedures for responding to and containing releases, including
    • identifying specific action the operator will take on discovering a release;
    • liaison procedures with State and local authorities for emergency response; and
    • communication and alert procedures for immedi- ately notifying State and local officials at the time of a release.”122

    The emergency plan must include procedures for

    “[p]rompt and effective response” to each type of emergency;

    “personnel, equipment, instruments, tools, and material” needed;

    “[t]aking necessary action, such as emergency shutdown or pressure reduction, to minimize the volume” released;

    control of the released liquids;

    minimizing public exposure to spilled liquids;

    notifying emergency responders; and

    reviewing the efficacy of emergency procedures following any accident.123

    f2fOperators must review and, if needed, update the plan every calendar year.124

    They must also create an emergency response training program, including training personnel to carry out the procedures in the emergency plan.125

  2. Probably maintenance work for which I’m certain a permit was obtained.

  3. Just heard from department of health, Enbridge says it is routine maintenance, not to worry.

  4. It’s just Nygren’s former underground tunnel from the Sheriff’s Office to his Wisconsin home.

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