Concerns Over Oil Pipeline Inspection at Oologah Lake

As an inspection of the Ozark Pipeline continues at the floor of Oologah Lake, the company overseeing the project is working to assure everyone that there is no reason for concern.

Underneath the waters of Oologah Lake, sits a very important stretch of pipeline. Carrying oil from Cushing, OK to Wood River, Illinois, any possible issue is cause for inspection.

"Usually, you don't see a 60 ton crane out in the middle of a lake." Corey Dahlin is project manager for Enbridge, the company planted at the middle of the lake, inspecting the pipeline.

That presence has had some wondering, why they are here.

"There was a signal or anomaly that is present down there," said Dahlin. But, when it comes to an oil pipeline running through a lake that supplies drinking water -- the question is, what is considered an anomaly? "It could be anything from a loose bolt that -- you know -- touched the pipeline to a small section of corrosion," Dahlin said.

Enbridge says the pipelines are tested routinely and any small trigger can call for an inspection like this.

With a considerable amount of Tulsa's drinking water coming from the lake, the project has had some asking questions about what is really going on -- worried about the safety of the water that may come into their homes.

Dahlin says, the site is secure and there is no reason for concern.

"We, actually, were able to purge the section of pipe underneath the lake with nitrogen gas and with that being isolated, there is no risk of -- of an oil leak if one was found," he added.

The company says, while some may question the reason for the inspection, they are open to skepticism.

Dahlin said, "You know, we're very transparent, we're not trying to hide anything here."

The company says they hope to be done, no later than the weekend of July 4th.

People we spoke with at a nearby marina say their main concern is for those boating after nightfall, saying people need to be cautious of the barge and equipment at the middle of the lake.