Kinder Morgan Canada recently completed a large-scale project as part of our integrity management program under the McLeod River east of Edson, Alberta. From spring 2015 until October, our crews worked in collaboration with Universal Pegasus Inc. (UPI), BCG Engineering, NTL Pipelines and Backwoods Energy Services to replace approximately 860 metres of the existing Trans Mountain pipeline, install new mainline valves and create a new river crossing to ensure long-term depth-of-cover and protection of the pipeline.

To complete the project, our crews used a trenchless construction method called horizontal directional drilling (HDD). HDD is increasingly being used in construction projects as it is a non-invasive technique with minimal impact. It is the preferred construction technique in environmentally sensitive areas such as rivers. We will use HDD for some river crossing projects during construction of the Trans Mountain Expansion Project pending approval.

The project included setting up the HDD drill rig, drilling a pilot borehole through the designated passage, reaming (resizing the passage to the right diameter) underneath the river, welding the new pipeline segment above ground, pulling the segment through the borehole underneath the river to the west side and tying in the new pipeline segments to the existing pipeline on each side of the river. Our crews also upgraded the existing access roads to the project site and pipeline right-of-way.

We put stringent mitigation measures in place to minimize environmental impacts and meet regulatory requirements at the project site. This included pre-construction and ongoing environmental monitoring, application of more than 1,400 access mats at the project site, drilling waste disposal by mixing with subsoils per Directive of the Alberta Energy Regulator, and transplanting and protecting at-risk plant species such as snakeskin liverwort. We also consulted extensively with landowners who have property in proximity to the river to ensure they were informed about the project.

Upon the project’s completion, our crews restored the site back to its original condition. The river crossing will continue to be monitored post-construction. Raj Lalli, lead engineer and manager for the McLeod River project commented, “The team’s collaborative efforts to plan, implement and complete this project made it a success.”