Compliance Verification Activity Report: CV1920-391 - NOVA Gas Transmission Ltd.

Overview

Compliance verification activity type: Field Inspection

Activity #: CV1920-391
Start date: 2019-10-15
End date: 2019-10-18

Team:

Regulated company: NOVA Gas Transmission Ltd.

Operating company: NOVA Gas Transmission Ltd.

Province(s) / Territory(s):

Discipline(s):

Related events:

Rationale and scope:

A field inspection of the Peace River Mainline Abandonment Project, which includes the physical removal of 9 km of pipeline from the Sturgeon Lake Cree Nation Reserve. The remaining approximately 257 km of the NPS 20 pipeline will be abandoned in place, with physical disturbance in some locations (e.g., road crossings, valve sites). This compliance verification activity commenced in April 2019 with a meeting with NGTL and 3 Information Requests (IRs); the field component occurred from 15-18 October 2019.

Compliance tool(s) used:

Facility details

Facilities:

Regulatory requirements

Regulatory requirements that apply to this activity:

Regulatory instrument number(s):

Additional Project-specific requirements or conditions:

Project details at https://apps.neb-one.gc.ca/REGDOCS/Item/View/3027606

Observations (no outstanding follow-up required)

Observation 1 - IR 1 - Follow-up regarding site condition at Four Mile Creek

Date & time of visit: 2019-04-11 16:19

Discipline: Environmental Protection

Categories:

Facility:

Observations:

A teleconference was held with the Project Manager for the PRML.  Following the conversation, the NEB IOs determined additional information and details regarding the current condition at Four Mile Creek was required.

Compliance tool used: Information Request (IR)

Regulatory requirement:

Relevant section(s):

Company action required:

As follow-up that conversation, can you please provide the following:

  1. The most recent photographs of the work area at Four Mile Creek (particularly near/at the creek itself, and erosion and sediment controls that are in place.
  2. The date of the most recent inspection at Four Mile Creek.
  3. The planned frequency and method of inspection/monitoring at Four Mile Creek over the break-up period or until active construction resumes in that area.
Can you provide this information by end of day 17 April 2019.

Due date: 2019-04-17

Date closed: 2019-06-24
Note: the date closed is the date that the inspector completed their review of the company corrective actions for adequacy and determined that no further actions are required.

Reason closed: Requirement met

Compliance achieved: Yes

Observation 2 - Meeting held 23 April 2019

Date & time of visit: 2019-04-23 13:30

Discipline: Environmental Protection

Categories:

Facility:

Observations:

An in-person meeting was held at the NEB offices to discuss the current condition of Four Mile Creek.  During previous conversations and in the response to IR 1, NEB IOs identified concerns and a potential hazard to the environment due to erosion and sedimentation at four mile creek.

Following the meeting, NGTL provided the following response and commitments to the NEB IOs:

Thank you for meeting with NGTL on Tuesday April 23, 2019, to discuss the Peace River Mainline Abandonment Project activities at Four Mile Creek. As discussed at the meeting, NGTL will continue to monitor the erosion near the site of the pipe removal at Four Mile Creek. NGTL has put in place the following next steps to further investigate the root cause of the erosion:

 
NGTL will follow-up with NEB staff following these steps as soon as available.
 

 

Compliance tool used: No compliance tool used

Observation 3 - IR 2 - Detailed Project Design

Date & time of visit: 2019-05-03 11:50

Discipline: Environmental Protection

Categories:

Facility:

Observations:

Photos taken on April 4 and 19 2019 were provided to the IOs in response to a pre-inspection IR (response received 17 April 2019) and during an in-person meeting held 23 April 2019.  The photos show that rock rip-rap and coconut matting had been swept away from certain areas of the reclaimed crossing of Four Mile Creek.  During conversations held with NGTL, NGTL indicated it had a hydrology assessment and/or design completed by its environmental consultant prior to construction.

Compliance tool used: Information Request (IR)

Regulatory requirement:

Relevant section(s):

Company action required:

Information Request:

Due date: 2019-05-15

Date closed: 2019-06-24
Note: the date closed is the date that the inspector completed their review of the company corrective actions for adequacy and determined that no further actions are required.

Reason closed: Requirement met

Compliance achieved: Yes

Observation 4 - IR 3 – Additional Hazard Assessment

Date & time of visit: 2019-05-03 11:50

Discipline: Environmental Protection

Categories:

Facility:

Observations:

Following a meeting to discuss the Four Mile Creek site held 23 April 2019, NGTL provided an outline of its planned next steps for the Four Mile Creek site.  As part of that response, NGTL committed to completing a “desktop assessment of potential effects to Four Mile Creek stemming from the erosion.”  The IOs are of the view that the assessment should include ground-based observations to more completely identify environmental hazards related to the erosion at Four Mile Creek.  
NGTL also confirmed its plans were to “conduct monthly environmental assessments of the Four Mile Creek site throughout the spring to monitor erosion, slope stability, vegetation reestablishment and reclamation recommendations.”  The IOs are of the view that more frequent monitoring and assessment may be warranted based on 1) the nature of the material, which NGTL indicated was easily erodible, and 2) the time of year, where it can be expected that over the coming months precipitation could be higher, and river discharge could be at its highest (based on historical discharge data for the Smoky River at Watino, AB and Little Smoky River near Guy, AB).

Compliance tool used: Information Request (IR)

Regulatory requirement:

Relevant section(s):

Company action required:

Information Request:

  1. Include, as part of the environmental assessment of potential effects to Four Mile Creek from the observed bank erosion:
Due 31 May 2019 2. Provide a more detailed monitoring plan for the Four Mile Creek site. As part of the monitoring plan include:Due 15 May 2019

Due date: 2019-05-31

Date closed: 2019-11-17
Note: the date closed is the date that the inspector completed their review of the company corrective actions for adequacy and determined that no further actions are required.

Reason closed: Requirement met

Compliance achieved: Yes

Observation 5 - General Observations -Inspection 15-18 October 2019

Date & time of visit: 2019-10-15 09:00

Discipline: Environmental Protection

Categories:

Facility:

Observations:

The weather at the time of the inspection was cool and mostly sunny, and conditions were generally wet due to recent rain. Last winter had extreme cold conditions during construction and the summer was extremely wet and crews could not access the Right-of-way (RoW) for approximately 4 weeks.

All of the pipe on the Sturgeon Lake Cree Nation (SLCN) Reserve (9.3km) will be removed with the exception of the pipe under service roads which will be filled with "fill-crete" (concrete-like material) and left underground. Approximately 87% of the pipe had already been removed at the time of the inspection, with the remaining (KP 20+700 to 20+900) scheduled for this winter with Band Council Resolution. Company Representatives stated there is no tree planting scheduled or planned for SLCN and only 14 m of the 24 m RoW was mulched.

Company Representatives indicated that all equipment arrived clean and free of soil and vegetative debris and clubroot mitigation was followed as per the requirements in the EPP.

Sturgeon Lake Cree Nation Reserve
Site 15 Highway 43 Crossing at KP 14+500
South Side

North SideWoodpecker Creek KP 15+850
Woodpecker Creek, at approximately KP 15+850, was observed from the south bank. Company Representatives indicated that this crossing was removed during extreme cold conditions (i.e., -40 C) and that the Creek was isolated and a fish salvage was conducted.Drainage KP 15+720
A drainage was observed along the RoW at approximately KP 15+720. Sediment fencing at the drainage was in disrepair and ineffective and straw wattles were observed in the drainage.Winter Work KP 14+000 to 14+500 and KP 17+205
IOs walked along the RoW for approximately 1 km immediately south of the work at Highway 43. Work was completed in this location during frozen conditions.IOs also inspected the RoW at approximately KP 17+205, immediately south of a gravel road. Due to very wet conditions at the time of the inspection, IOs were only able to walk approximately 100 m along the RoW.Site 13A KP 12+600
The south laydown yard included a contractor trailer and equipment used for physical pipeline abandonment activities. No work was occurring at the time due to wet soil conditions.The RoW immediately adjacent to the laydown yard had been partially reclaimed at the time of the inspection. Company Representatives indicated that the pipeline had been removed from this location (pasture/agricultural land) in summer 2019.Four Mile Creek
Four Mile Creek has been extracted from this general observation as it was subject to a series of IRs and meetings prior to the field component of the inspection. Field observations at Four Mile Creek can be found in IR 6.

Sites 12 and 13
IOs visited disturbance sites 12 (pasture land) & 13 (wetland), located on either side of a gravel road approximately 200 m east of SLCN Reserve.Valleyview Compressor Station
IOs inspected the former site of the Valleyview Compressor Station, which had been removed as part of the Project. Company Representatives indicated work at this site began in August 2018 and had been completed after spring break up in 2019.

Compliance tool used: No compliance tool used

Observation 6 - IR 4 - Final Clean Up KP 14+000 to KP 17+200

Date & time of visit: 2019-10-16 13:00

Discipline: Environmental Protection

Categories:

Facility:

Observations:

During the inspection IOs visited areas on the Sturgeon Lake Cree First Nation Reserve where the pipe was removed last winter. Several issues were observed that require repaires:

IO’s requested a copy of the Issues Tracking List that contains outstanding environmental issues where additional work needs to be conducted. All of the observed outstanding issues were identified within the Issues Tracking List and Company Representatives indicated these areas would be repaired this winter. 
 

Compliance tool used: Information Request (IR)

Regulatory requirement:

Relevant section(s):

Company action required:

  1. Provide notification when final clean up between KP 14+000 and KP 17+200 is completed.
  2. Identify any outstanding reclamation issues in this area.
  3. Provide representative photos of the work completed.
 
 

Due date: 2020-03-02

Date closed: 2020-04-18
Note: the date closed is the date that the inspector completed their review of the company corrective actions for adequacy and determined that no further actions are required.

Reason closed: Requirement met

Compliance achieved: Yes

Observation 7 - IR 5 - Woodpecker Creek

Date & time of visit: 2019-10-16 13:36

Discipline: Environmental Protection

Categories:

Facility:

Observations:

Company representatives indicated the pipe was removed from Woodpecker Creek last winter during extreme cold conditions (-40 C). They stated the creek was isolated and a fish salvage was conducted. IOs requested and reviewed the Woodpecker Creek Watercourse Crossing Plan developed by the contractor. The contours of the creek were restored and 4x4 wood posts, sediment fence, straw wattles, willow staking and erosion control blankets were used to stabilize the banks. There was some indication of some beaver activity on the banks. Outstanding reclamation issues were identified during the inspection and Company Representatives indicated the following would be repaired this winter and/or spring:

  1. Subsidence on the bank(s) requires additional coir soil wraps and/or subsoil to bring levels up to grade.
  2. Additional willow staking to be installed (as required).
  3. Weeds to be managed along the banks this spring (See NNC 1).
  4. Erosion control requires repairs including sediment fence and straw wattles.
  5. Seed the riparian area after bank subsidence repairs have been made (See NNC 2).

Compliance tool used: Information Request (IR)

Regulatory requirement:

Relevant section(s):

Company action required:

  1. Confirm what activities will be completed at Woodpecker Creek.
  2. Provide the dates of repairs.
  3. Provide post-repair photographs of the creek, including upstream, downstream, left bank and right bank.

Due date: 2020-03-02

Date closed: 2020-04-18
Note: the date closed is the date that the inspector completed their review of the company corrective actions for adequacy and determined that no further actions are required.

Reason closed: Requirement met

Compliance achieved: Yes

Observation 8 - IR 6 - Four Mile Creek

Date & time of visit: 2019-10-16 11:00

Discipline: Environmental Protection

Categories:

Facility:

Observations:

In March 2019, NGTL completed a pipeline and embankment removal at Four Mile Creek. High water flows and localized runoff the following spring caused erosion and bank failure of the reclaimed area. During the inspection on 16 October 2019, NGTL representatives provided a presentation on the history of activities that occurred at Four Mile Creek during construction and the current condition. The company stated site inspections by the Environmental Inspector are being conducted every 2 weeks since the end of May to monitor erosion, slope stability, vegetation reestablishment and reclamation recommendations (anchors for a possible future tree revetment program). NGTL indicated that site conditions have been stable since the spring even though the area received high levels of precipitation throughout the summer. 
 
IO’s observed sloughing and erosion on the toe of the slope causing instability and bank failure. There has been some vegetation establishment on the bank slopes over the past growing season. The steep slope used to access the site was restored after construction activities and appears to be in a stable vegetated condition with erosion berms. NGTL indicated in order for heavy earthwork equipment to access the site for any repairs, the slope would have to be regraded, potentially further reducing the stability of the slope and delay vegetation establishment and the possibility of leaving a larger environmental footprint. NGTL has observed upstream and downstream slope conditions and there were numerous areas in the valley with slope instability, erosion and sloughing.  NGTL also had concerns regarding the success of additional mitigation.

On 27 May 2019, a Geotechnical Assessment was developed to investigate any potential risk to the existing slope and any possible geotechnical concerns that may have contributed to the erosion at the toe of the banks.

On 12 July 2019, NGTL received an Erosion Mitigation Options Analysis developed by a contracted consulting company. The document provided mitigation options to address the localized erosion issues on Four Mile Creek and to stabilize the area from further erosion and sloughing. One of the mitigation measures NGTL was considering implementing was the Christmas Tree Revetment. This treatment involves overlapping evergreen trees horizontal along the bank toe to slow velocities along the eroding bank and promote sediment deposition. NGTL stated they installed approximately 20 stakes and only 7 held in place. NGTL also advised that the stakes were used as a “trial” to see if the anchors would be a suitable method to install the tree revetments. NGTL will continue to monitor the existing cross drains and diversion berms to make sure they are not blocked.


NGTL stated they have been in communication with personnel from Alberta Environment and Parks about the erosion and sloughing issues and they would be coming out to observe the site this fall. IO's have tried to contact AEP but have not managed to connect with them yet. NGTL concluded they would be continuing the monitoring program throughout the spring and will assess additional measures to promote bank stabilization and reduce bank erosion.

On 11 November 2019, NGTL provided the final report Four Mile Creek Site Reconnaissance and Mitigations Options Report. In this report NGTL states:

Following embankment removal, it was determined that the final result did not match the design drawings in a number of ways, (because of field fit decisions (by TCPL) and other site limitations), including:

Four mitigation options were summarized in the report which include:
  1. Monitor the project site with no planned remediation activities.
  2. Conduct willow staking and seeding and sediment/erosion control measures to accelerate vegetation of the channel banks and valley slope to promote stability of he site and limit sediment generation.
  3. Placement of riprap erosion protection within the channel to minimize future channel down cutting and restore the channel invert similar to design. This would also include willow staking and grass seeding where appropriate.
  4. Excavate the valley side slopes based on the new channel elevation 2H:1V maximum side slopes. Shallower side slopes may be required, up to 3H:1V if deemed necessary by on site geotechnical inspector. Consideration of local benching may be required and may include v-weirs or riprap placement. This would also include willow staking and grass seeding where appropriate.
Site access would be required for options 3 and 4 resulting in significant environmental disturbance of the established slopes to mobilize equipment and may only be possible during the winter months.

Timing of the execution of this activity, will be based on the monitoring of the site after spring runoff in April 2020. This will determine the state of the erosion after the high-water flows have subsided.


UPDATE-On 25 November 2019, IO spoke with a Alberta Environment and Parks representative to discuss the slope instability, erosion issues and mitigation options presented in the Four Mile Creek Site Reconnaissance and Mitigation Options Report. They indicated they would inspect the creek in the spring and discuss appropriate next steps with the company.

 

Compliance tool used: Information Request (IR)

Regulatory requirement:

Relevant section(s):

Company action required:

Identify which mitigation will be used from the Four Mile Creek Site Reconnaissance and Mitigation Options Report (Mitigations Options Summary Table on page 12) and provide a date and schedule for construction activities.
 

Due date: 2019-12-18

Date closed: 2020-01-14
Note: the date closed is the date that the inspector completed their review of the company corrective actions for adequacy and determined that no further actions are required.

Reason closed: Requirement met

Compliance achieved: Yes

Observation 9 - IR 7 - Valleyview Compressor Station REM-0144

Date & time of visit: 2019-10-17 08:00

Discipline: Environmental Protection

Categories:

Facility:

Observations:

On 17 October 2019, NGTL provided the Materials Tracking List (29 September 2019) of contaminated sites for the PRML abandonment project. Testing and subsequent clean-up at the Valleyview Compressor Station (REM -0144) is considered part of the Phase II ESA.
 

Compliance tool used: Information Request (IR)

Regulatory requirement:

Relevant section(s):

Company action required:

  1. Confirm that the results of the post excavation testing with comparison to criteria, along with sampling methodology, will be submitted to the commission as required by condition 10(iii).
  2. Confirm planned remedial actions for REM-0144.

Due date: 2019-12-18

Date closed: 2020-02-24
Note: the date closed is the date that the inspector completed their review of the company corrective actions for adequacy and determined that no further actions are required.

Reason closed: Full relief granted

Compliance achieved: No

Observation 10 - Corrected Non-Compliance (CNC) 1 – Construction Waste on RoW

Date & time of visit: 2019-10-16 13:00

Discipline: Environmental Protection

Categories:

Facility:

Observations:

During the inspection, numerous pieces of construction waste (primarily flagging tape and stakes) were observed in multiple locations along the RoW where physical abandonment activities had occurred the past winter. This is a non-compliance with the Project Environmental Protection Plan (EPP) which requires all waste to be removed from site. Company Representatives removed all pieces observed for appropriate disposal and no further follow-up is required.
 

Compliance tool used: Corrected Non-compliance (CNC)

Regulatory requirement:

Relevant section(s):

Company action required:

No additional corrective action is required as this non-compliance was corrected in the field.

Due date: 2019-10-17

Date closed: 2020-03-09
Note: the date closed is the date that the inspector completed their review of the company corrective actions for adequacy and determined that no further actions are required.

Reason closed: Requirement met

Compliance achieved: Yes

Observation 11 - Notice of Non-Compliance (NNC) 1 – Weed Management

Date & time of visit: 2019-10-16 14:00

Discipline: Environmental Protection

Categories:

Facility:

Observations:

IOs observed at least two locations with noxious weeds (Canada thistle) over the course of the inspection, including the banks of Woodpecker Creek, and the south slope of Four Mile Creek. Other possible observations were made, however, species-level identification was not confirmed. Company Representatives confirmed that noxious weed locations were previously documented by a sub-contractor in the spring and locations were entered into the Issues Tracking List. Weed management activities did not occur in the spring or summer of 2019. This is non-compliant with the mitigation measures outlined in the Project EPP.
 

Compliance tool used: Information Request (IR)

Regulatory requirement:

Relevant section(s):

Company action required:

  1. Explain why mitigation for the management of weeds was not applied after they were identified in several locations along the RoW.
  2. Provide a noxious weed monitoring plan and a timeline for when it will be implemented during abandonment and operation activities.

Due date: 2019-12-18

Date closed: 2020-02-24
Note: the date closed is the date that the inspector completed their review of the company corrective actions for adequacy and determined that no further actions are required.

Reason closed: Requirement met

Compliance achieved: Yes

Observation 12 - NNC 2 – Seeding at Woodpecker Creek

Date & time of visit: 2019-10-16 13:00

Discipline: Environmental Protection

Categories:

Facility:

Observations:


During the inspection IOs visited Woodpecker Creek (see IR 5). Company Representatives confirmed to IOs that the disturbed riparian areas were not seeded as required in the mitigation measures outlined in the Project EPP.

Compliance tool used: Notice of Non-compliance (NNC)

Regulatory requirement:

Relevant section(s):

Company action required:

  1. Explain why the seeding mitigation was not implemented at Woodpecker Creek.
  2. Provide a plan to bring NGTL into compliance with respect to this mitigation.

Due date: 2019-12-18

Date closed: 2020-04-18
Note: the date closed is the date that the inspector completed their review of the company corrective actions for adequacy and determined that no further actions are required.

Reason closed: Requirement met

Compliance achieved: Yes

Observation 13 - NNC 3 - Signage

Date & time of visit: 2019-10-17 16:00

Discipline: Damage Prevention

Categories:

Facility:

Observations:

Pipeline signage was not in place at the road at KP 17+205. Land on the south side of the road is part of the SLCN Reserve, from which the pipeline was removed. The other side is Crown Land, where the pipeline was abandoned in-place. Company Representatives indicated that signage was previously present on the south side. However, signs were not observed on either side at the time of the inspection.

Compliance tool used: Notice of Non-compliance (NNC)

Regulatory requirement:

Relevant section(s):

Company action required:

Confirm signs are in place at all road crossing on the project.
 

Due date: 2019-12-18

Date closed: 2020-01-14
Note: the date closed is the date that the inspector completed their review of the company corrective actions for adequacy and determined that no further actions are required.

Reason closed: Requirement met

Compliance achieved: Yes

Observation 14 - NNC 4 Contaminated Sites

Date & time of visit: 2019-10-17 16:00

Discipline: Environmental Protection

Categories:

Facility:

Observations:

On 17 October 2019, NGTL provided the Materials Tracking List (29 September 2019) of contaminated sites for the PRML abandonment project. The testing reported in the Tracking List, as well as the removal of contaminated material, is considered to be part of the Phase II ESA and requires a filing as per the requirements of Condition 10 (iii) of Order ZO-N081-003-2018.

 

Compliance tool used: Notice of Non-compliance (NNC)

Regulatory requirement:

Relevant section(s):

Company action required:

Please provide the following confirmation that:

  1. The excavation testing and soil removal should be considered part of the Phase II ESA
  2. As per the requirements of Condition 10 (iii) of Order ZO-N081-003-2018, NGTL will file a Phase II ESA, including a Notice of Contamination if remediation is required, and address any contamination as per the CER’s Remediation Process Guide.

Due date: 2019-12-18

Date closed: 2020-02-24
Note: the date closed is the date that the inspector completed their review of the company corrective actions for adequacy and determined that no further actions are required.

Reason closed: Requirement met

Compliance achieved: No

Observation 15 - IR #8 - Phase II Environmental Site Assessment (ESA)

Date & time of visit: 2020-02-24 14:00

Discipline: Environmental Protection

Categories:

Facility:

Observations:

Information Request #7 outlines the requirement for a Phase II ESA at the site of the abandoned Valleyview Compressor Station. This IR requested confirmation from NGTL that the results of post-excavation testing, sampling methodology, and comparision to criteria, would be submitted to the CER as required by Condition 10(iii).

NGTL did not provide a response directly to IR #7 confirming that the Phase II information would be submitted to the CER. However, IOs consider the response to NNC #4 to include IR #7 since it addresses Phase II ESAs for the Project as a whole.

NNC #4 was more broadly related to Condition 10(iii) and the requirement to submit a Phase II ESA to the CER. In response to the NNC, on 18 December 2019, NGTL stated they will report to the CER the results of the soil and groundwater analysis, and findings of the Phase II ESA, including the applicable provincial and federal criteria that will be applied to compare the results of the soil and groundwater results, and the rationale for the selected criteria. If Phase II ESA activities identify soil and/or groundwater contamination above the applicable guideline, NGTL will file a Notice of Contamination with the CER by writing to the Secretary of the Commission as soon as practicable and will address contamination pursuant to the Remediation Process Guide.

The Phase II ESA Plan approved by the NEB  (REGDOCS A91953) states:

"NGTL will report to the Board the results of the soil and groundwater analysis, and findings of the Phase II ESA, including the applicable provincial and federal criteria that will be applied to compare the results of the soil and groundwater results, and the rationale for the selected criteria." (PDF page 4 of 4).

IOs are unaware of any information about Phase II ESAs having been provided to the CER and require additional information.




 

Compliance tool used: Information Request (IR)

Regulatory requirement:

Relevant section(s):

Company action required:

NGTL shall provide a schedule for any remaining Phase II ESA activities and provide a date that the Phase II ESA Report (including results from areas of potential environmental concern (APEC) identified in its Phase II ESA Plan, as well as results from any areas of contamination identified outside of the APECs) will be filed with the CER. In addition, NGTL shall file any outstanding Notices of Contamination to address any outstanding contamination for the PRML Abandonment Project including the Valleyview Compressor Station.
 

Due date: 2020-03-16

Date closed: 2020-04-18
Note: the date closed is the date that the inspector completed their review of the company corrective actions for adequacy and determined that no further actions are required.

Reason closed: Requirement met

Compliance achieved: Yes

Observations (company follow-up required)

Identified non-compliances to company plans or procedures are non-compliances either to:

- the condition of an authorization document that requires the implementation of that plan or procedure; or

- the relevant section of the regulations that requires implementation of that plan or procedure including those sections that require implementation of plans or procedures as a part of a Program