The Courage to Call: See Something, Say Something

Wolverine Pipe Line Company (Wolverine) would like to recognize a stakeholder for taking the steps to be a good neighbor and report signs of a potential release on its underground pipeline which carries refined petroleum products.  

The resident, Charles Mikels, has lived in his local community for many years, walking the same bike path with his wife and dog daily, until one afternoon, he observed something not quite right. “I noticed the aroma in the air, and knew it wasn’t normal; when I saw Wolverine’s pipeline marker, and potential product on the ground, I knew that it was time to shorten my daily walk and head home to make a call.” 

Mikels recalls receiving Wolverine’s public awareness mailing each year, in which signs of a release are highlighted for residents living near its pipeline. The mailing also includes a handy fridge magnet with contact information for Wolverine’s Operations Control Center in the event of an emergency.

“Charles did exactly what we ask nearby landowners to do every year when we mail them a brochure, letter and magnet,” said Edwin Peters, Right of Way and Claims Supervisor at Wolverine. “He used sight, sound, and smell to be aware of his surroundings, and reported it to our emergency number that is clearly displayed on our materials. We’d like to recognize him for doing the right thing and being a good neighbor by preserving the public safety of the neighborhood.”

Mikels has a message to share with folks who may not be aware of the signs of a release on an underground pipeline, “If you see, smell, or hear anything, call it in. I also encourage people to read the letters they get from utility companies in their area, and to keep the handy fridge magnets for quick access to emergency contact information.” 

Pipeline releases are unlikely but can occur. Wolverine encourages everyone to be familiar with where pipelines are located by paying attention to pipeline markers in their area, understanding the signs and conditions of a possible release, and knowing what actions to take. The following list represents of possible occurrences to notice and instructions on what to do if you suspect a release:

  • Sight:
    • A pool of liquid on the ground
    • A rainbow sheen on water
    • Continuous bubbling in water
    • A dense white cloud or fog
    • Discolored or dead vegetation
    • Dirt or water being blown into the air
  • Sound:
    • An unusual hissing or roaring noise
  • Scent:
    • An unusual odor such as gasoline, sulfur, or a rotten egg smell
  • What to do if you suspect a release:
    • Leave the area immediately.
    • Call 911 or your local emergency response number.
    • Call Wolverine toll-free at 888-337-5004.
    • Do not attempt to operate pipeline valves.
    • Remain upwind.
    • Keep ignition sources away from the area.

“Wolverine would like to commend Charles Mikels for his clear commitment to the safety of the community, as it is one of our core values as a company,” shared Kurt Barclay, President of Wolverine. “It takes a partnership between pipeline operators and our stakeholders to keep the communities in which we operate safe, and Mikels did just that by being aware of his surroundings and reporting what he witnessed.”

Wolverine Pipe Line Company is a fuel transportation company headquartered in Portage, Michigan. Wolverine operates ~700 miles of active pipeline transporting refined petroleum products from refineries in the Chicago area to the Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan markets. Wolverine transports approximately 30% of all gasoline and diesel fuel used in Michigan.