Damage prevention is a shared responsibility between pipeline companies, regulators and the public. As a federally regulated pipeline, in both Canada and the United States, there are regulations and requirements for working in proximity to our pipelines. These obligations ensure the continued safe operation of our pipelines and protect those working near the pipeline, the public, property and the environment.

Before you start digging or building, it’s important to know who to call, what permits you might need and what to do if something goes wrong.

Always Click or Call Before You Dig

Before you begin any ground disturbance work, contact your local One Call service to request the location of any underground utilities in the area.

At the planning stage:

  1. Visit ClickBeforeYouDig.com.
  2. Click on your province or state and complete a One Call notification. Or if you prefer to place your request by phone, in Alberta call 1.800.242.3447, in BC call 1.800.474.6886 and in Washington state call 811.
  3. If your planned work is near our pipeline right-of-way, a Trans Mountain representative will call you back within three business days in Canada (two in Washington state) to discuss your proposed work and if required, meet you on-site to provide information to safely conduct your work.

The One Call centre will require information, such as the planned start date of ground disturbance, an overview of your plans, how deep you’ll be disturbing the ground, location of work and the duration. The details provided to One Call will be incorporated into a 30-metre (100-foot) permit issued for your proposed work, should a permit be required. If the job scope changes, work should stop and a new One Call placed with an updated job scope.

Any approved work undertaken within 7.5 metres (25 feet) of the pipe requires one of our Pipeline Protection Inspectors to be on-site to ensure the safety of our pipelines. Our inspectors have the authority to stop any work that may pose an imminent danger to the pipeline.

When do You Need a Permit and/or Written Consent?

In Canada, the area covering 30 metres (100 feet) from the centre of the pipeline, and often extending beyond the right-of-way, is known as the prescribed area. Under Canadian regulations, any ground disturbance activities in the prescribed area require a permit from us. We apply the same stringent measures to our assets in the Puget Sound area of Washington state.

Ground disturbance includes any work operation or activity, either below or at ground level, that disturbs or displaces the existing soil or ground cover.

Trans Mountain issues approvals for ground disturbance, installations and related activities under two types of permits:

  • 30-Metre (100-Foot) Ground Disturbance Permit – A 30-Metre (100-Foot) Ground Disturbance Permit is required prior to any ground disturbance activity within 30 metres (100 feet) from the centre of the pipe.
  • Pipeline Proximity (Crossing) Installation Permit or “Proximity Permit” – A Proximity Permit is an additional requirement prior to a facility installation or crossing activity within the pipeline right-of-way. An additional risk assessment will be completed for all works within 7.5 metres (25 feet) of the pipeline.

Examples of activities that require a Proximity Permit include, but are not limited to:

  • New roads, driveways, trails or ditches
  • Underground utility installations, abandonments and removals
  • Fences, posts, bollards and permanent signage
  • Vehicle/mobile equipment crossings outside of established roadways – crossing the pipeline with either a vehicle or other motorized equipment, when not driving on an existing road, requires our written consent.

What Happens if You Don’t Place a One Call or Obtain a Permit?

Failure to notify us in advance through One Call service, obtain necessary permits or follow the instructions of our Pipeline Protection Inspectors may be subject to monetary penalties as per applicable regulations.

Unauthorized activities may cause property damage and negatively impact public safety and the environment.

How Do I Apply for a Permit?

  1. Contact your local One Call centre and provide them with details of your planned activity
  2. Download a copy of our Pipeline/Right-of-Way Proximity Permit Application or our Proximity Installation Consent Application for Works Within Municipal Roadways
  3. Prepare your application and provide all the required details for us to assess your application. See below for more information.
  4. Submit your application to a Trans Mountain permit representative by emailing [email protected] for permits in British Columbia and Washington state and [email protected] for permits in Alberta
  5. We will process the application and send a copy to the applicant for signature
  6. Applicant signs and returns applications to the Trans Mountain permit representative

Before beginning construction, call to arrange an on-site safety meeting with a Trans Mountain permit representative. At the meeting, the representative will:

  • Locate and mark the pipe
  • Issue a 30-Metre (100-Foot) Ground Disturbance Permit
  • Stay on-site for any work within 7.5 metres (25 feet) of the pipe

With all required documentation, a Proximity Permit can take up to 10 business days to process. Once we have reviewed and approved your plan, a Proximity Permit will be issued for the work detailed in the application (subsequent to any changes in the process). If your scope of work changes, you will need to notify us to approve any changes.

Copies of all permits must be kept at the job site and be available when requested by a Trans Mountain representative.

Detailed information on each of the permits you may need can be found below:

Any ground disturbance work within the prescribed area requires a safety assessment and written consent in the form of a 30-Metre (100-Foot) Ground Disturbance Permit.

Ground disturbance includes any work operation or activity either below or at ground level that disturbs or displaces the existing soil or ground cover. Activities that require a permit include but are not limited to:

  • Road construction
  • Heavy or mobile equipment crossings
  • Driving objects into the ground such as posts or stakes
  • Installing irrigation systems or ditching
  • Landscaping
  • Drilling, digging, compacting or stockpiling material
  • Using explosives or any equipment causing ground vibration
  • Excavating, digging or trenching

Before beginning construction, contact your local One Call service and provide them with details of your planned activity. If your proposed work is within 30 metres (100 feet) of our pipeline, Trans Mountain will be notified and you will be issued a One Call ticket. A Trans Mountain representative will call you back within three business days in Canada (two business days in Washington state) to arrange to meet with you on-site, mark our pipeline and issue a 30 Metre (100 Foot) Ground Disturbance Permit. At the meeting the representative will:

  • Locate and mark the pipe
  • Issue a 30 Metre (100 Foot) Ground Disturbance Permit
  • Stay on-site for any work within 7.5 metres (25 feet) of the pipe

A Pipeline Proximity (Crossing) Installation Permit or “Proximity Permit” is typically required for installations or crossings within the right-of-way. It is a continuation of the process, which starts with placing a One Call and requesting information about the location of underground infrastructure.

While permanent above-ground structures, such as buildings or poles, are not allowed within the right-of-way, certain improvements can be installed in accordance with our safety requirements. Activities that require a Proximity Permit in addition to the 30-Metre Permit typically include, but are not limited to:

  • New roads, driveways, trails or ditches
  • Underground utility installations, abandonments and removals
  • Fences, posts, bollards and permanent signage
  • Retaining walls or sidewalks
  • Low shrubbery
  • Vehicle/mobile equipment crossings outside of established roadways

If you are considering any improvements within the right-of-way that may require a longer lead time, we recommend you place a planning and design One Call ticket in advance to ensure your works meet pipeline safety requirements. We will work with you and provide feedback as you plan and determine if a Proximity Permit is required.

Should a Proximity Permit be required, you will be asked to submit an application. Subject to a complete application, it may take up to 10 business days to be processed and a Proximity Permit issued.

You may be required to provide both a plan view and a profile or elevation view drawing with your permit application.

Drawing and Design Requirements

For the Proximity Permit application, both a plan view and a profile or elevation view drawing are required.

The Plan View Drawing should have at a minimum:

  • Unverified location of the pipeline and right-of-way boundary (the location will be verified on-site by a Trans Mountain representative)
  • Complete legal land description and the street address of the property (you can obtain the legal land description from your local city hall, municipal office, regional district or county office)
  • Location of proposed works, including dimensions to a reference point such as a legal property line, the pipeline or the right-of-way boundary
  • Location of all applicable property boundaries as well as road and utility right-of-way boundaries
  • A north arrow

The Profile or Elevation View Drawing should have at minimum:

  • For surface crossings, the profile should be taken along the pipeline
  • For underground and aerial crossings, the profile should be taken along the proposed new crossing facility
  • Location of any pipeline and associated depth of cover
  • All horizontal and vertical clearances from the pipeline

Crossing the pipeline right-of-way with a vehicle or heavy equipment outside a designated roadway can pose a threat to our pipelines. To ensure the integrity of our pipelines, a safety assessment by the pipeline operator is required. Trans Mountain must provide written consent prior to any crossing to reduce transmission pipeline risk and enhance safety. Before considering a crossing, call your One Call service to initiate a pipe locate by Trans Mountain. Farmers operating agricultural vehicles or mobile equipment across pipelines may do so in low-risk areas only if certain conditions are met. Contact your local One Call Centre or Trans Mountain to begin the process for a safety assessment.

To ensure pipeline safety, we require anyone operating a vehicle or equipment across our pipelines outside an established roadway to obtain written consent from us. All requests for vehicles and equipment crossing the pipeline outside the travelled portion of a roadway shall pass a loading analysis to ensure the integrity of the pipeline is not compromised as a result of the activity.

Examples of vehicles and equipment that require written consent to cross our pipeline include, (but are not limited to):

  • Excavators
  • Compactors
  • Dozers
  • Graders
  • Loaders
  • Trucks and trailers
  • Wheeled or tracked construction vehicles and equipment

Anyone looking to cross our pipelines with a vehicle or equipment must submit a Vehicle Crossing Information Requirements Form to our Pipeline Protection Department a minimum of three business days before any proposed crossing.

Special Project Considerations

For certain projects, additional information must be included in your application:

For the Plan View Drawing:

  • All existing buildings within 30 metres (100 feet) of the pipeline
  • Parking stall layout (no parking or storing of materials is permitted within three metres (10 feet) of the pipeline)
  • Location of all access roads

For the Profile or Elevation View Drawing:

  • Detail and describe the proposed backfill structure around the pipeline
  • Ensure all roads and parking lots that cross the right-of-way are completed in accordance with our Engineering Standard MP3120D. Please contact us for the latest copy, if required

Depth of Cover:

  • Minimum depth of cover is 1.2 metres (four feet) from the top of the pipeline to the final road grade. Do not exceed 1.8 metres (six feet)
  • A Trans Mountain representative must be on-site for any backfill

Inspection Cut-Outs for Parking Lots:

  • Inspection cut-outs shall be installed in the pavement directly over the pipeline every 10 metres (33 feet)
  • The inspection cut-outs should consist of a 150-millimetre (six-inch) diameter cast iron grate in a concrete or rigid PVC collar filled with free-draining gravel
  • The layout of the inspection cut-outs may be determined at the time of construction with the Trans Mountain representative

Specific requirements for new railway crossings will be established on a case-by-case basis. Please contact us to discuss your project.

The minimum depth of cover shall be one metre (three feet) from the top of the pipeline to the final grade and 1.2 metres (four feet) if the trail is used for vehicle access.

For the Profile or Elevation View Drawing:

  • Include the dimensions of the width at the top of the ditch, the width of the invert and the depth of the ditch

Depth of Cover:

  • The minimum depth of cover required is one metre (three feet) from the top of the pipeline to the invert ditch

Liners:

  • A description of any ditch liners, including the material type, must be included in your application

For the Plan View Drawing:

  • Include the location of all proposed poles, towers, guys, anchors or any other supporting structure in all plan view drawings
  • None of the above are permitted on the right-of-way

For the Profile or Elevation View Drawing:

  • Provide a dimension of the proposed minimum height of the overhead cable(s) across the right-of-way

Cable Information Requirements:

  • Provide a description of the type, size and voltage of the proposed cable(s)

Clearances:

  • For fibre optic cables not in conduit and concrete encasement, the minimum vertical clearance is two metres (6.5 feet)
  • For fibre optic cables in conduit and encased in concrete with warning tape placed above, the minimum vertical clearance is 0.3 metres (one foot)
  • For most other utilities, the minimum vertical clearance is 0.3 metres (one foot)
  • For trenchless construction such as directional drilling or boring, the minimum vertical clearance for all utilities is two metres (6.6 feet)
  • For parallel works within a road allowance, the minimum horizontal clearance is 1.5 metres (five feet) from the edge of the pipeline

We reserve the right to increase the minimum clearances listed in the application if deemed necessary.

Constant Elevation:

  • All underground facilities shall maintain a constant elevation across the entire width of the right-of-way and extend a minimum of 0.6 metres (two feet) beyond the right-of-way boundaries

Cable Information Requirements:

  • Provide the voltage, conduit size and method of installation in your application
  • Using trenching methods, install the cable within rigid PVC type conduit
  • Encase in concrete
  • Place applicable warning tape across the width of the right-of-way

Pipeline Information Requirements:

  • Pipe material
  • Outside diameter
  • Wall thickness
  • Pipe grade
  • Type of cathodic protection
  • Substance the pipeline will be transporting
  • Method of installation

For steel pipelines, the installation of a test tap may be required at the crossing to monitor cathodic protection.

During the permit application process, we will determine if one is necessary. All costs associated with the test tap installation will be the responsibility of the applicant.

Limitations:

For perpendicular works across the pipeline, the following are not permitted within the right-of-way:

  • Junction boxes
  • Manholes
  • Kiosks
  • Catch basins
  • Valves
  • Meters
  • Other similar facilities

Where there is no right-of-way, please contact the Pipeline Protection Department at 1-888-767-0304.

When submitting your landscaping plans for approval, please include the following:

  • Property lines and length
  • Position and dimensions of your house or building
  • Right-of-way of pipeline location (the location will be verified on-site by a Trans Mountain representative)
  • Driveways, sheds, fences and any other structures
  • Trees, hedges, lawn areas and garden beds

We require clear access to the pipeline and right-of-way for monitoring and maintenance. Refer to our Landscaping Guidelines for more information.

The minimum clearance from the pipeline centreline to the centreline of a post or bollard is two metres (6.5 feet).

For applications regarding installing a fence, please include the fence height and construction material with your application.

Storing materials of any kind is not permitted within three metres (10 feet) on either side of the pipeline. You can store materials outside this area as long as they are easily moved if we need access to the right-of-way. A Proximity Permit is required.

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