The Enbridge Tower is pictured on Jasper Avenue in Edmonton August 4, 2012. REUTERS/Dan Riedlhuber/File Photo Credit: © Dan Riedlhuber / Reuters

Wausau Pilot & Review

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is assisting with an investigation of soil suspected to be contaminated along Enbridge Line 5 south of Ashland, according to a news release.

On the evening of Aug. 3, Enbridge reported to the DNR that a contractor had encountered soil suspected to be contaminated near Old Airport Road and Holmes Road, approximately 1 mile west of the Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Chippewa reservation.

Enbridge told DNR staff they believe the contamination was from a historical discharge and not an ongoing release. All suspect material was excavated and stockpiled, according to the release.

Enbridge communications spokeswoman Juli Kellner, in an email ro Wausau Pilot & Review, objected to the DNR’s use of the phrase “oil spill.”

“Enbridge crews working yesterday morning at a valve site in the Town of Gingles in Ashland County detected a small amount of product in the soil,” Kellner wrote. “Response crews were dispatched immediately to inspect the area, finding a trace amount of product, and as a precaution Line 5 was shut down….Today crews continued to investigate the origin of the impacted soil, excavating around the valve and pipe, following our protocols and all regulatory requirements.”

DNR officials say staff have been on site several times and have not observed any additional petroleum odors or soil staining. Enbridge will be required to submit documentation to the DNR of the actions taken to address the suspected contamination as well as documentation on the volume of soil that was excavated and where it was legally disposed.

Enbridge stated that they did not find an indication of a leak when the pipeline was shut down. They also stated that they slowly increased pressure to attempt to identify a leak and are now currently up to full pressure with no sign of a leak or alarm.

“Safety is our number one priority at Enbridge,” Kellner said. “Line 5 in northern Wisconsin provides a vital link to propane and other energy supplies for the upper Midwest.”

The investigation is ongoing. No additional information was immediately released.