Residents Crowd County Meeting With Concerns Over ET Rover Pipeline Violations
October 17, 2017
Local activists concerned about recent violations and misconduct tied to construction of the ET Rover Pipeline made the Livingston County Board of Commissioners aware of the situation during Monday night’s meeting.
Energy Transfer is constructing the pipeline that runs through Washtenaw and Livingston Counties. Last week, some local resident watchdogs noticed an ongoing water spill on an easement in an area on Dexter-Townhall Road where the pipeline crosses a wetland and could smell the strong smell of gasoline. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality was contacted, samples were taken and a violation has been issued to the company, which states Rover’s dewatering activities may be exacerbating the spread of contaminated groundwater from a former gas station.
Jen Nelson, a lifelong Pinckney-area resident who is pictured, was one of the residents who discovered the spill and detailed the recent events. She brought along a sample of tap water from a home around 400 feet from the spill and potential plume, telling commissioners they were welcome to try it. Nelson said it doesn’t smell or look bad but the property owners are justifiably worried and were never notified about the latest issues –stating the company does not take safety precautions and is putting people at risk. Nelson referred to several local EPA watch sites and said she doesn’t want to let future disasters come into town so easily, adding she respects the board and wants them to come through for the community whether stricter protections or other options. She says wants to get ahead of contamination and protect local water resources, further raising concerns about the Chain of Lakes.
Matthew Borek is with the group Michigan Residents Against the ET Rover Pipeline and was among those who spoke about what they refer to as the “accident prone pipeline”. He was among those who noticed the strong smell, and elevated water levels in the wetland. Borek and others estimate hundreds of thousands of gallons of contaminated water flowed into the wetland and Hell’s Portage Creek in what became a days-long spill, which flows into the Chain of Lakes and then the Huron River watershed.
About a dozen residents spoke during call to the public although more supporters were in the audience. They raised issues with the company’s conduct and lack of ethics during construction so far but larger concerns about the health of water resources including wetlands, lakes and streams. Others questioned how sheriff’s deputies assigned for security failed to notice the violations and another raised issues with they feel are continuing shady welding habits
The recent violation notice issued by the MDEQ in regard to the ET Rover Pipeline project can be viewed on our website.
Commissioners do not typically comment or engage in exchange with the audience during call to the public. Commissioner Bob Bezotte said he would be interested to learn testing results, as his district encompasses the area of concern.
The violation notice issued by the MDEQ is attached. (JM)