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REPORTING · 23rd August 2012
Walter McFarlane
The Enbridge Northern Gateway Representatives were in Kitimat on Thursday, August 16th for a technical meeting to answer questions posed by the Community and City Council at a Technical Meeting and Open House.

“We brought in three people to talk about emergency response, leak detection and pipeline integrity. Knowing three presentation is too long, we will have a presentation on leak detection and a presentation on emergency response,” said Michelle Pereira.

The theme of the night was the safety of the project as explained by the company.

Ray Philipenko was the head of the newly created Leak Detection at Enbridge pipelines was the first to speak. He stated his department is about using many different systems which form a comprehensive strategy to find links so they could react quickly and minimize impact.

He explained Leak Detection included Surveillance, 3rd party reporting and pipeline monitoring including SCADA, the Leak Detection System which monitors the pipeline all the time. They use in pipeline inspection to find leaks and are looking at new equipment.

Enbridge will fly over the pipeline once every couple of weeks. People along the pipeline can report abnormalities and they want to know about it. In the case of a report from a third party, they will dispatch people.

The pipeline will be monitored in an undisclosed location in Edmonton Control Centre. Philipenko expressed this is the largest control centre in North America. It has 23 people looking after pipelines and a lot of support staff. The SCADA System brings up to date information from computers along the pipeline to the Control Centre.

There is a job in the control centre unique to Enbridge. It is a Leak Detection Analyst. It is this person’s job to look for leaks. From Edmonton, they are able to close valves and shut the line down.

They also monitor for leaks at the seals, if levels go up, vibration, fires and even hydrocarbons in the air.

He expressed Enbridge has made the commitment to manage the pump stations so in the winter, when the roads are unavailable to stations in the middle of nowhere, they have people who are on the ground and who can respond to the alarms.

They are testing an infrared camera that can detect fluid coming from pipelines. While the leak detection system is used, it is but one technology. Their strategy uses a number of methods to monitor and detect leaks.

They are working to comply to the most rigorous standards of Leak Detection and Enbridge is meeting or exceeding the standards across Canada.

The staff train on a simulated pipeline where they can react to abnormal conditions. The simulator can also test the leak detection system. They can also test the alarms by simulating a leak at a location where they can withdraw fluid from the pipeline safely.

Philipenko stated leaks do not happen very often on a pipeline so they also test how the monitors react to a leak.

He stated Enbridge works with duel leak detection systems and look for ones which are strong in the areas their methods are weak. They have several new technologies which they are evaluating. They are not used in North America where they are not standard. He went through several of these options.

Philipenko concluded by going over the list of ways they will be using to prevent leaks.

Neil Reid was present to talk about Emergency Response. He stated commitment to the health and safety of the people and the environment was Enbridge Northern Gateway’s number one commitment.

Their first priority is to prevent a spill from happening. A spill would be responded to and they would be prepared to respond. Their second priority is to contain a spill. Following containment is recovery and reclamation, to restore the land to what it was.

Reid stated Emergency Preparedness would not be a part of the current discussion if it were not for the conversations in Kitimat. The discussion has led to a case study on Kitimat to show what the process would entail.

He stated knowledge would help them prepare for a response and be able to put it back to the way it was after a response. The Emergency responders will collect any relevant information to the terrain, water and habitat.

Logistics is the most important part of a response. All the equipment and personal are moved in. In addition, a strategy helps to achieve containment. He explained they make plans to deal with spills at specific areas.

Decisions have to be well thought out and well informed. They need to make sure the tactical plans make sense. In the case of an incident, they could make decisions.

Reid went through a desktop review of response sites which was done in April, 2012 with both the First Nations and the Community of Kitimat. The responders visited the river and picked out 18 preliminary response sites.

As an example, he went through one of the areas and the information they would have about it. Reid concluded his presentation by saying this is a continuing, on going process.

How were the presentations received? Residents who attended were certainly upset. One individual was seen storming out of the room. A second commented on how a question he had asked during the open house portion of the meeting resulted in the person he was talking to walking away from him.

Councillor Phil Germuth stated on his own behalf: “I’m sorry, but to my satisfaction, you haven’t actually given us one single answer to our questions to how you will guarantee the quality of our environment or our drinking water.”

He was told if a spill occurred, the drinking water would be tested until it was safe and water would be brought into the community.
No answers!
Comment by trin7 on 24th August 2012
Would have been really nice if the Enbridge spokesmen had answered even one question honestly. The amount of BS that was flying in the room was incredible. They even said that Kalamazoo was completely cleaned up???? Maybe they're just misinformed - they wouldn't be lying, would they?? Just say no to Enbridge!!
Comment by Larry on 23rd August 2012
They keep trying's not going to happen'