Safety is our top priority, so we need to know right away, if there’s an emergency.

Our first step is to confirm there’s an emergency condition. Reports may come from a number of sources, including automated detection systems, our staff on site or other personnel, as well as members of the public and/or emergency services (police, ambulance, fire).

Two systems monitor the pipeline continuously for changes in operating parameters that would indicate a possible leak:

  • Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) System – allows direct control of pumps and valves along the system and monitors rate-of-flow in the pipeline, pressure, temperature and density of product, among other things.
  • Leak Detection System – compares the parameters to a theoretical flow model, identifying any differences outside of prescribed norms that might indicate a problem.

If a variance is found, an alarm will be immediately received by our Control Centre operator in Edmonton, Alberta. In the Control Centre, there are several operators on each shift, each responsible for a specific section of the pipeline. Monitoring takes place 24/7 and is divided into 12-hour shifts.

Upon receiving a report of a spill, our 24/7 Control Centre operator will activate a safe pipeline shutdown. This would launch a series of emergency procedures, which include shutting down pump facilities and isolating the suspected spill area by closing valves and notifying key responders. Our personnel and/or contractors are also sent out to investigate the area in question. Until the cause of the alarm has been established, control operators are not authorized to restart the line or resume operations. Pipeline restart after a report and shutdown due to a suspected leak follows a strict protocol and requires approval from senior management.

Pipeline Shutdown

A safe pipeline shutdown is an orderly action plan and includes pump facilities along the line:

  • Facilities and upstream pumps would be shut down to avoid pushing more product to the suspected release area
  • Upstream valves would be closed when safe to do so (once the line is depressurized) to isolate the area
  • Downstream pumps will continue to remove as much product as possible from the area around the suspected incident. Once the downstream area has been cleared as much as possible, the valve is closed on the downstream side to fully isolate the area.

From alert to isolation, this procedure takes about 15 minutes or less. We  then activate response personnel and procedures and notify regulatory agencies. We have backup power supplies at all of our stations that can safely perform the shut-down functions, including in the event of a power failure.


In the event of an incident, we use the Incident Command System (ICS) to effectively manage our response. This system allows for seamless coordinated action with government agencies and Indigenous communities. ICS allows us to effectively manage our emergency communication and ensure all affected stakeholders, including the public, are notified promptly during any emergency. If the public is potentially affected by an incident we will work with the local municipality to ensure appropriate emergency communications are delivered and public protection measures are undertaken based on the associated hazards of the incident.

Public notification during an emergency may occur through door to door visits, telephone, electronic notification, social media, broadcast media and community signage. We will work with the local municipality to assist with public protection measures as needed.

Notification of local government agencies may occur through 9-1-1 and on-scene coordination with emergency services. Our Emergency Management Department maintains a database of local contacts and will contact affected communities as soon as possible.

Notification of Indigenous communities will occur through the Indigenous Relations group as part of the ICS Liaison Office. The Indigenous Relations group maintains a database of Indigenous community contacts and will contact affected communities as soon as possible.

Reporting to the Canada Energy Regulator (CER) and the Transportation Safety Board (TSB) occurs through the CER’s Event Reporting System (OERS). This online reporting system is intended for use by regulated companies to provide notification to the CER and TSB of various events defined in regulation, including incidents, unauthorized activities and operations and maintenance activities. If a member of the public wishes to report an event they can contact the TSB reporting hotline at (819) 997-7887.

Alberta and British Columbia each have a single reporting number which is used to call-out additional resources if required. We know that in some situations, a provincial response may not be required, however the local authorities and/or other potentially impacted provincial agencies and communities may wish to receive additional information therefore is committed to making additional notification calls, and establish conference call solutions to ensure potential responders are aware of the situation.