Unauthorized activities near a Trans Mountain pipeline pose a significant risk to pipeline safety due to their potentially uncontrolled nature. The Pipeline Protection (PLP) team ensures the safety of people living and working near our pipeline, and the protection of surrounding areas. PLP implements several effective controls to prevent damage incidents, identify hazards and proactively mitigate risks along our pipeline. These controls include right-of-way patrol, reporting unauthorized activities, One Call response proximity (crossing) permits, ground disturbance standards, pipeline identification and land use monitoring.

We asked Keven Hilton, a Pipeline Patroller at Trans Mountain, a few questions to get a better understanding of the important work of our Pipeline Patrollers. Trans Mountain’s Public Awareness team works closely with PLP to guide our effort to educate stakeholders about safe digging practices when working near the pipeline.

Keven Hilton, Pipeline Patroller, Trans Mountain.

What does a Trans Mountain Pipeline Patroller do?

Each day, ground patrollers are on the lookout for anything out of the ordinary, searching for ground disturbance or other activities along the pipeline route. When any work is noticed along the pipeline, patrollers check the internal database to see if the individual or company has opened a One Call ticket. If the work matches the ticket, patrollers continue their route. If the work does not have a One Call ticket or Trans Mountain’s 30 Metre Permit for ground disturbance, the patroller contacts a PLP inspector responsible for the pipeline segment to discuss next steps. Patrollers work closely with landowners providing information and answering questions about the One Call process and safe digging procedures. Should there be an immediate threat to the pipeline if the work continues, the patroller issues a Stop Work Order and hands it over to the PLP Inspector, who investigates the work area and completes an Unauthorized Activity report.

What do you enjoy about your job?

Being out and about each day; even though I cover the same route each week, it’s always different. The driving is always broken up by a trail walk or a discussion with a landowner or contractor. There is always something interesting to see. I have never been an office person. Most of my working life has been something other than 9 to 5, Monday to Friday.

How does PLP work with landowners and contractors to ensure they are aware of safe digging requirements?

When unauthorized activities are noticed during patrols, PLP staff discuss with landowners and contractors the requirements and potential dangers of not placing a One Call in advance of any ground disturbance, and the consequences of not obtaining required permits. They also provide informational brochures and handouts explaining requirements and One Call contact information.

What are the most common unauthorized activities you encounter during your patrol?

The most often unauthorized work encountered is home improvement projects without submitting a One Call ticket before digging. It’s important to remember Trans Mountain needs to be notified about all work near our pipeline. The best way to do this is to submit a One Call ticket.

How do landowners or contractors submit a One Call ticket?

Submitting a One Call ticket is free and takes only a few minutes! Before starting a new project that involves ground disturbance work, contact your local One Call centre to prevent damage to underground infrastructure. Once you’ve submitted your ticket, the details of your dig will be forwarded to member companies to notify them of your upcoming work. If your proposed dig is near the Trans Mountain pipeline, you will be contacted within three business days in Canada and two business days in Washington state.

You can place a One Call online at clickbeforeyoudig.com, or by phone at the numbers below:

BC 1 Call: 1.800.474.6886

Alberta One-Call: 1.800.242.3447

Washington state: 811