Many of the communities we talk to have questions about pipeline safety. We understand this and continue to work to answer these questions. Safety is our number one priority. It has been for over 65 years, and it will continue to be with Energy East.
So, how will we help keep your communities safe? Here are seven important safety features we will use for Energy East.
1. Cathodic protection
During construction, a very low-voltage electric current called cathodic protection is applied to the pipeline. Cathodic protection helps reduce wear and tear on pipelines by connecting protected pipeline metal to a more easily corroded piece of metal attached to the pipeline. This type of protection is used for other infrastructure such as bridges, boats and cars to prevent corrosion and rust. This system undergoes rigorous inspections every year to ensure it is operating effectively.
2. Corrosion-resistant coating
In addition to using high-strength carbon steel, our pipelines are protected with the most advanced corrosion-resistant fusion-bonded epoxy coatings that are designed specifically to meet TransCanada’s safety standards.
3. Weld inspections
Each weld along Energy East will be tested with the latest ultrasonic inspection technology in addition to the more standard X-ray inspection tools. We require every weld made on our pipelines to be inspected by qualified independent inspectors.
4. Shut-off valves
Energy East will be equipped with hundreds of shut-off valves, placed strategically along the pipeline route to help protect sensitive areas, such as major water crossings. If an anomaly is identified, the pipeline is shut down immediately by turning off the pumps that move the oil inside the line, and then remotely closing valves that isolate the section where a drop in pressure or temperature may have been detected.
5. Inspection and Maintenance
Each year, TransCanada spends nearly $1 billion in pipeline integrity and inspection programs. Smart PIGs are used to identify the tiniest crack, flaw or sign of corrosion inside the pipeline thanks to electronic sensors that inspect the pipe metal millimeter by millimeter. We also conduct regular ground and aerial patrols along the pipeline.
6. 24/7 Monitoring
The pipeline is monitored around the clock by highly-trained personnel from our cutting-edge Control Centre, which receives data every five seconds from thousands of sensors located all along the pipeline. If a problem is detected, the pipeline will be shut down immediately and the area where an anomaly has been identified will be isolated by our shut-off valves.
7. Emergency Response Plans
We understand how important it is to be prepared for any situation, even the most unlikely. This is why we’re developing emergency response plans, and testing them with local emergency responders. This is to ensure that there is sufficient resources in place to respond quickly and efficiently to any type of pipeline emergency.