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Inspections Underway On Oil Pipeline Running Under Oologah Lake

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The company calls this inspection routine, but they have notified the City of Tulsa, which counts on Oologah Lake for drinking water. The company calls this inspection routine, but they have notified the City of Tulsa, which counts on Oologah Lake for drinking water.
"We can catch these things ahead of time, and that's what we're trying to do--trying to be proactive instead of reactive," said Enbridge project manager Corey Dahlin. "We can catch these things ahead of time, and that's what we're trying to do--trying to be proactive instead of reactive," said Enbridge project manager Corey Dahlin.
City of Tulsa water supply manager Robert Brownwood. City of Tulsa water supply manager Robert Brownwood.
OOLOGAH, Oklahoma -

Underwater inspections are underway to ensure the safety of a 64-year-old oil pipeline running right through Oologah Lake.

The company calls this inspection routine, but it has notified the City of Tulsa, which counts on Oologah Lake for drinking water.

"We can catch these things ahead of time, and that's what we're trying to do--trying to be proactive instead of reactive," said Enbridge project manager Corey Dahlin.

When operational, the 22-inch pipeline carries 200,000 barrels of crude oil every day from Cushing to Wood River, Illinois.

"Usually, we typically dig out in a farm field or just grassy locations, but with this pipeline being located on the lake, it definitely has thrown us some good curve balls," Dahlin said.

Recently, one of the company's inspection tools caught an anomaly in this piece of the Ozark Pipeline. They don't know what it is yet, but they say it could be a crack. The company has turned off the oil while these inspections are underway.

They're doing the inspection of the 40-foot length of that pipeline, but it actually runs 8,000 feet across the lake.

Project Managers want to avoid what happened outside Little Rock in March. An Exxon/Mobil oil pipeline ruptured right in a subdivision, spilling an estimated 3,500 barrels of oil that is still being cleaned up.

The Enbridge pipeline, here in Oklahoma, was put in back in 1949. Actually, Oologah Lake came after the pipeline was put in. And today it's a major source of drinking water for the city of Tulsa. Fifty million gallons come from this lake every day.

"We are not really concerned at this point," said water supply manager Robert Brownwood. "Again, they notified us with what they're doing. The pipeline is going to be empty, it's just routine maintenance, like we would do on our treatment facilities. Our intake is about five miles from their location. If anything did go on, they would let us know."

They hope to wrap up the inspection on June 24. If they find a problem, they'll repair it before the oil is turned back on.

The company stresses it's found no evidence of a crack or a leak and that the whole point of the inspection is to prevent any from happening.

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