- Regulatory Filing
No. Since the project was announced in 2013, the Energy East project team has conducted a number of environmental assessment studies which includes analyzing bodies of water along the pipeline route. These studies are used to help design water crossings (methods for crossing bodies of water with the least amount of environmental impact) on a case-by-case basis. Protection of water resources is of utmost importance and is why we take extra precautions around bodies of water.
Land surveyors collect all the geographic and land ownership data that the Energy East Pipeline project team needs, to identify an ideal route that has as little impact as possible on landowners, residents and the environment.
Currently, the river crossings being replaced have 36” diameter pipes, and we want to install 42” diameter pipes. It is important that the pipeline has 42” pipe from start to finish, as this allows us to inspect the integrity of the pipe with inline devices (specialized devices like the SMART pig) while in operation.
Converting the existing pipeline is aligned with our commitment to environmental stewardship. The existing pipeline is already in the ground, so we can minimize our environmental footprint during the construction of the pipeline.
TransCanada hires specialized consultants, biologists and scientists to study the soil, vegetation, wildlife, archeological resources and wetlands. We conduct these studies to help us understand the potential impact our projects might have on the environment. These studies help us develop appropriate mitigation strategies to ensure we do not have a negative effect on the environment.
We have many initiatives to help protect and sustain wildlife. A recent example is an initiative in northern B.C. on the Prince Rupert Gas Transmission project to protect the woodland caribou. The caribou were herded into an area while vulnerable during their calving stage to ensure safety from predators. Then they were released back into the wild to maintain their population.
We use a number of different methods for water crossings. The primary method is a trenchless crossing which does not affect the bed and banks of the stream or the sensitivity of fishery. This method uses drill technology to go under the water course, attach to the pipe and pull it back under.
We also use two types of isolation crossings, dam-and-pump and flume. The dam-and-pump method requires putting a dam both upstream and downstream of the water course, drying out the area to install the pipe, pulling the isolation, and reclaiming the bed and banks to preconstruction conditions. A flume is a giant pipe placed in the water course that channels the water through while the pipeline is constructed and installed. The last technique we use is the open-cut method. This method is used for small crossings, when the water body is dry or frozen to the bottom, and when there are low fishery sensitivities.
We live and play in these areas, just like you do, and we want to make sure the environment is protected for future generations–it’s one of our our top priorities. We work collaboratively with environmental agencies, government and First Nations to develop environmental protection plans towards our goal – to manage and minimize our environmental footprint. We conduct an Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment (ESA) and develop an Environmental Protection Plan (EPP).
Energy East is 100 per cent responsible for responding, cleaning and restoring the site in the unlikely event of a pipeline leak. We would also be 100 per cent responsible for the cost associated with remediation work. Canada’s pipeline regulations are rigorous, transparent and among the most stringent in the world. As a responsible company, it is our duty to meet these standards and we have taken this very seriously throughout our 65-year existence.
A pipeline leak is extremely unlikely and TransCanada has never spilled a single drop of oil into a waterway in over 65 years of transporting energy. That being said, dilbit oil behaves the same way as conventional crude oil, which floats on water. All oil does have the potential to sink if it is allowed to stay in the water for an extended period of time. Cleaning up dilbit poses the same challenges as cleaning up conventional oil. Swift clean-up is crucial, and in both cases the environmental and site conditions determine the best procedures and equipment to use.
Contact the Energy East team at EnergyEast@transcanada.com