Enbridge Holds Emergency Response Training - KFYRTV.COM - Bismarck, ND - News, Weather, Sports

Enbridge Holds Emergency Response Training

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While pipelines are one of the safest ways to transport crude oil, day or night, summer or winter, oil companies never know when an oil spill is going to happen. That's why businesses need to be ready to respond at a moment's notice.

From chainsaws to ice augers, snow and ice were flying Wednesday morning on the Mouse River. Enbridge teamed up with the Minot Fire Department for extreme weather emergency response training. 

"We work towards zero incidents. We work very hard with our monitoring programs, our quality of construction, our integrity program to make sure this type of event doesn't happen. At the same time we want to be safe, and we want to be prepared to over-respond if necessary," says Art Haskins the emergency response coordinator for Enbridge.

Teams were set up on the river along the backside of Roosevelt Park. Enbridge and first responders were practicing a cold-weather technique called ice slotting. Personnel cut out large slots in the river which allows for spilled oil to rise to the surface.

"Then that oil will come up inside that slot, it will travel down the slot to an area where we have a sump area. We then can put our skimmer in there and recover that product," says Haskins.

According to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration oil companies must meet specific training requirements every year. So, Enbridge holds 12 emergency response drills throughout the year. 

"In a release of product such as oil, we're going to need first responder assistance, then we'll be able to bring more workers as time goes on. The knowledge of our process is vital to the initial response,"says Haskins.

Depending on the severity of the situation, Enbridge would initially send a minimum of eight responders to a spill site, but all operation personnel are HAZWOPER trained, and another are 100, specialize in incident command structure.

"One of the things that is hallmark for us is when we respond, we really plan to over-respond.  If we need two chainsaws, we'll try to have five. If we need four ice augers, we'll try to have six.  We make sure we have extra in case something happens," says Haskins.

While the staff hopes that oil spills never occur, they want local first responders and the general public to be as safe as possible.

"Going in slow and safe is much more important than doing it quick," says Haskins.

And Thursday morning, the North Dakota Public Service Commission will hold a public hearing on Enbridge's pending application for the proposed 299 mile Sandpiper pipeline that would run through nine different counties in North Dakota. The meeting starts at 8:30 a.m. in Minot's City Council Chambers.

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