In addition to the integrity dig highlighted in “Suspect Soil” found here, there have been two other Enbridge integrity digs in very close proximity to the first dig reported and both come with their own set of questionable complications. At the request of landowners, we’ll refer to these digs as Dig 1, Dig 2 and Dig 3.
Dig 1 which was reported on in “Suspect Soil” has since been filled back in and an attempt at re-landscaping has been made. The contamination was identified as a petroleum product originating not from Enbridge, but from one of the other three pipelines sharing the right-of-way with Line 9. Nearly 20 monitoring wells have already been installed around the contaminated site, but they are scheduled to be pulled from the ground in fall 2015 after being sampled for ~ 1 year. Additional monitoring wells are to be installed shortly to further delineate the yet unknown extent of contamination, before any thought will be given to remediation, if any, of this site.
Contamination was also found at Enbridge Integrity Dig 2. The source and product found is still to be determined. An environmental site assessment is slated to begin soon and the landowners expect monitoring wells will be put in place. At this site, there are indications that both the soil and water could be contaminated. More studies are needed.
At Enbridge Integrity Dig 3, more contamination was found. The cause of this contamination is also unknown. No monitoring wells are planned and further studies are yet to be determined by the National Energy Board (NEB).
Clearly, there are pipeline problems in this corridor and similar scenarios are known along other sections of Line 9. What’s extremely disturbing is that all three of these digs – with known contamination – have been filled back in and contractors are no longer on site. That’s right. Known contamination with unknown source(s) for two of the three digs and no closure for landowners left with multiple questions, devalued property, and contaminated lands.
According to one landowner, they said this is Enbridge’s standard operating procedure. Discover it, cover it, then ask questions if compelled to. Is suspect soil always reported to the Ontario Spills Action Center or NEB? No. It highlights the importance of landowners being informed about what is happening and knowing how to ask the right questions. Then, if issues persist, the landowner must be informed about their rights and who to contact.
What’s very clear is that there continues to be unresolved landowner concerns and poor communication by Enbridge. As one affected landowner described, “Pipeline companies lack transparency when issues arise. They’re long on promises and short on results. Landowners have to look out for themselves and not depend on regulators or government”.
There is power in numbers and sticking together. An informed landowner is a thorn in any pipeline company’s side. That’s why Line 9 Communities works very hard to educate impacted neighbours and the general public about the Line 9 project. Hopefully the L9C example of banding communities together will serve as a useful example in challenging planned pipeline projects including TransCanada’s Eastern Mainline (gas) and Energy East (oil), both of which will impact many of the communities also affected by Line 9.
At the end of the day, the landowners impacted by the above issues are not anti-pipeline. That said, they want safe, responsible pipelines that are operated in an environmentally conscious way, fair compensation and treatment for use of their lands, and companies that take responsibility for their mess by fully remediating land when contamination is found. What these landowners are experiencing however, is irresponsibility, cutting corners, and corporate greed at all costs. Their experiences are credible examples to support why Enbridge should NOT be granted Leave To Open (LTO) of Line 9B.
Stay tuned for more developments as the story is far from over!
If you are a landowner with concerns about how Enbridge or another pipeline company is impacting you, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I respect your right to confidentiality and will only publish what you feel comfortable sharing.