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Enbridge: Broken pipe in Straits is 200 feet long

MACKINAW CITY (AP) — A 200-foot-long broken boring pipe remains embedded in the Straits of Mackinac and may not be recoverable by a company that operates a fuel pipeline, officials said.

Enbridge Inc. retrieved a broken 45-foot rod in December and told state regulators that a pipe of similar length remained. But the leftover pipe actually is 200 feet long, the Detroit Free Press reported Wednesday.

Enbridge last week reported the length to the Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy, known as EGLE, the newspaper said.

The broken pipe was related to a project last summer. A borehole collapsed while Enbridge was performing geotechnical work as part of a plan to eventually protect the Line 5 pipeline with a tunnel.

Enbridge spokesman Ryan Duffy said he couldn’t explain conflicting reports about the length of the remaining debris.

The piece “remains embedded in the borehole” and “cannot be retrieved,” Duffy said.

The state, however, is talking to experts.

“We’re waiting to see what they advise, as far as, is there a concern here? Or more of a concern?” said Joseph Haas, EGLE’s Water Resources Division district supervisor in Gaylord.

“I don’t expect much would be done (to recover) that remaining 200 feet of grout rod,” Haas said. “It’s likely recoverable, but it’s a matter of money, effort, worker safety.”