Guest post: Jamie Kereliuk, Director of Emergency Management, Trans Mountain Expansion Project

Our top priority is the safety of the communities where our Trans Mountain pipeline system operates and our dedicated Emergency Management team understands the most critical and responsible emergency management strategy is to prevent an incident from occurring at all.

However, in the rare case of an emergency, we have detailed emergency response procedures and trained professionals who are fully prepared to quickly respond to any type of incident anywhere along the pipeline system.

As part of our ongoing commitment to safety and emergency preparedness, our emergency response plans are continually reviewed, revised, practiced and communicated with first responders all along the pipeline system. We continually assess new and emerging practices to ensure we are applying best available technologies to protect our pipeline and terminals.

When the Government of Canada granted approval for the Expansion Project in December 2016 it was subject to 157 required conditions from the NEB; including conditions to enhance our emergency response plans. These enhanced plans will put a greater focus on geographic response planning and we have been engaging and getting input from local public safety agencies, municipalities and Aboriginal groups to support this effort.

Site-specific geographic response plans are being developed along the pipeline. We have been working alongside local municipalities, Aboriginal communities and first responders to gather local knowledge and expertise which is valuable for developing the best geographic response plan possible, and ultimately enabling us to respond faster and more effectively.

We understand communities along the pipeline corridor are concerned about emergencies and response capabilities. Regular training and exercises are integral to our safety and emergency preparedness program.  We conduct more than 20 emergency response exercises, equipment deployment drills and training opportunities each year.  We also have response equipment available in Jasper including an Oil Spill Containment and Response (OSCAR) trailer, a boom trailer, a winter response trailer, and a response boat. With the availability of this local equipment, trained personnel and regular emergency exercises, like the one we conducted on Moose Lake last fall, we are confident in our experience to quickly respond to these rare events.

Our Emergency Management team is working hard to ensure when the expansion goes into operation, the enhanced EM Program will meet the needs of the twinned system. I am proud of the Program we have in place today, and I take pride in the team planning the future of our Emergency Management Program.

Our goal is to operate, manage and protect the pipeline system so that our emergency response plans are never used, while being fully prepared for any type of incident.