written by Robert Kennedy
Approximately a year and a half ago the LPLT was approached by Trans Northern Pipeline (TNP) who wanted to perform remedial work on their refined petroleum product pipeline which passes through the Kennedy tract. The steel pipeline is 62 years old. TNP believes the pipeline has an indefinite lifetime as long as it is properly maintained. A device called a pig having many sensors, is put through the pipeline once every 5 years to look for potential defect issues. The last time the pig detected two small dents in the pipeline which were approximately 50 metres apart in the middle of the wetland. The only access to these two locations is from County Rd 25. Prior to starting the work, Doug McRae and lawyer Malcolm Ruby sat down with Trans Northern to express concerns related to accessing the wetland with heavy equipment. LPLT’s main concern was the timing of the work so that it would have minimal effect on breeding birds and other wildlife as well as water quality and the possibility of the introduction of invasive species.
Trans Northern started the work in August 2017 and it took 5 weeks to complete. The work consisted of building the 700 m wood panel access road into the wetland from Cty Rd 25 with larger wood staging areas around the two repair sites. The area is laced with many streams which required the construction of dams to isolate the digs where repairs were going to be made. The dams consisted of long 3m diameter rubber like tubes which were filled with water to give them a flexibility which allowed them to follow the contours of the land. With these dams in place, TNP then pumped out any water inside the isolated dammed off area. This allowed them to then excavate and expose the existing pipeline in the dry and do the repair work. Most of the repairs consisted of a steel sleeve being welded to the exterior of the pipe thereby reinforcing it in the areas of defect. Once the repairs were completed, the trenches were backfilled and all the materials and construction equipment were removed from the site. All that remains is the exposed earth where the access road and staging areas were located. The vegetation is already growing back quickly and probably by this time next year the disturbed area will not be visibly noticeable.
It should be noted that Trans Northern had to obtain a number of government environmental permits which set out strict guidelines for the construction process and environmental controls to protect water quality, flora and fauna. Many thanks to Doug McRae who represented LPLT and Malcolm Ruby who generously donated his legal experience and his office for meetings with Trans Northern.