Compliance Verification Activity Report: CV2021-187 - Trans Mountain Pipeline ULC

Overview

Compliance verification activity type: Field Inspection

Activity #: CV2021-187
Start date: 2020-10-13
End date: 2020-10-16

Team:

Regulated company: Trans Mountain Pipeline ULC

Operating company: Kinder Morgan Canada Inc

Province(s) / Territory(s):

Discipline(s):

Related events:

Rationale and scope:

Environmental inspection of watercourse crossings on on Spread 2 in conjunction with DFO and IMs from the IAMC. Scope was focused on pre-construction conditions at watercourses with critical habitat for Athabasca Rainbow Trout (Species at Risk).

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:

Condition 43 - Watercourse Crossing Inventory Condition 71 - Riparian Habitat Management Plan Condition 92 - Updates under the Species at Risk Act

Observations (no outstanding follow-up required)

Observation 1 - Pre-Inspection Information Request (IR) No. 1 - Watercourse Crossing Construction Activities

Discipline: Environmental Protection

Categories:

Facility:

Observations:

The Inspection Officer has received information from Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) regarding construction activities at Spread 2 watercourse crossings. The information was self-reported by Trans Mountain to DFO and is summarized in the table below. 

The Inspection Officer notes Condition 43 requires Trans Mountain to file an inventory of watercourse crossings at least 5 months prior to commencing any watercourse crossing activities. On 2 October 2020, Trans Mountain filed an update to Condition 43 related to Spreads 1 & 2. Watercourses in bold, italicized text below had not been provided to the Commission as part of this inventory prior to 2 October 2020. 

Additional information is required to verify compliance.

 

WC IDNameKPPlanned Timing Watercourse Crossing Const.Date of Clearing in Riparian BufferActivities Completed
AB-153Rooster Creek/ 1480/ 3290.46Jan 2021Mar 2020Cleared
AB-153aUnnamed tributary to Ponoka Creek/ 166217/ 2292.89Jan 2022Mar 12, 2020Cleared
AB-154bUnnamed tributary to Ponoka Creek/ no FWMIS ID293.64Jan 2022Mar 16, 2020Cleared
AB-155Ponoka Creek/ 1367/ 3W211.3Jan 2022Mar 16-20, 2020Cleared
AB-157Roundcroft Creek/ 19328/ 3297.13Jan 2022Feb 29, 2020Cleared, rig-mats & geotextile installed
AB-163Unnamed tributary to Hunt Creek/ 476415/ 2303.27Jan 2022Planned for Oct 2020Not yet cleared.
AB-164Hunt Creek/ 806/ 3303.36Jan 2022Planned for Oct 2020Not yet cleared.
AB-167Trail Creek/ 1798/ 2307.71Jan 2022Planned for Oct 2020Not yet cleared.
AB-178Unnamed tributary to Hardisty
Creek/ 479630/ 1
317.21Feb 2022Jan 2020Cleared, rig-mats, geotextile, culvert installation
AB-179Unnamed tributary to Hardisty Creek/ no FWMIS ID317.61Feb 2022Jan 2020Cleared, rig-mats, geotextile, culvert installation
AB-179aUnnamed tributary to Hardisty Creek/ no FWMIS ID317.83Feb 2022Jan 2020Cleared, rig-mats, geotextile, culvert installation
AB-188Maskuta
Creek
326.11Nov 2021Planned for Nov/Dec 2020Not yet cleared.
AB-194Unnamed tributary to Maskuta
Creek/ 481309/ 2
332.08Nov 2021Planned for Nov/Dec  2020Not yet cleared.
AB-202Unnamed tributary to Maskuta
Creek/ 482250/ 3
337.14Feb 2022Planned for Nov/Dec  2020Not yet cleared.

Compliance tool used: Information Request (IR)

Regulatory requirement:

Relevant section(s):

Company action required:

1. For each of the watercourse crossings outlined in Table 1, provide the following information:

2. Indicate whether construction activities, including clearing, have occurred at any of the "new" watercourses listed in the 2 October 2020 Condition 43 update. 

Follow-Up (IR 1.1)

3. Provide additional details about the status and timing of construction activities at each new watercourse crossing.

Due date: 2020-10-08

Date closed: 2020-12-14
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 2 - Pre-Inspection IR No. 2 - Timing of Riparian Clearing

Discipline: Environmental Protection

Categories:

Facility:

Observations:

As outlined in IR No. 1, clearing has occurred at multiple watercourse crossings 1-2 years prior to watercourse crossing construction.
While the Pipeline EPP states “merchantable and non-merchantable timber can be removed within the riparian buffers, unless otherwise stipulated in a regulatory approval” (Section 8, Pt. 9), Condition 71 states that “Clearing activities will be limited in buffers adjacent to watercourse crossings until just before construction” (Table 5.2-1) (empasis added).

This is also stated in Appendix G of the Pipeline EPP, Table G.8-5.

Letter Report No. 10 (C03225), which approved the Pipeline EPP, states:
The Commission reminds Trans Mountain that all mitigations in the individual approved or accepted plans, which may have been filed pursuant to other conditions, must be implemented, even if a measure was inadvertently not copied across into the updated Pipeline EPP. Further, in the case of any inconsistency the most stringent mitigation described in either the individual plans filed pursuant to other conditions, or the Pipeline EPP must be implemented. (emphasis added).
 
Based on the information outlined in IR No. 1 (Table 1), eight watercourses were cleared approximately 1-2 years ahead of planned watercourse crossing construction.

Additional information is required to verify compliance.

Compliance tool used: Information Request (IR)

Regulatory requirement:

Relevant section(s):

Company action required:

1. For each of the watercourses outlined as having been cleared in winter 2020 in table 1, please provide the planned timing of watercourse crossing construction.

2. Explain how Trans Mountain is in compliance with the above requirement, including justification of how 1-2 years is “just before construction”.

Due date: 2020-10-16

Date closed: 2020-12-03
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 3 - Post Construction Site Visit - Little Sundance Creek

Date & time of visit: 2020-10-14 12:00

Discipline: Environmental Protection

Categories:

Facility:

Observations:

Little Sundance Creek (AB-137; ~KP 290.46)

No active work was occurring in the vicinity of Little Sundance Creek at the time of the inspection. Trans Mountain indicated the construction of the crossing was completed in March 2020 and that final clean-up was to occur in winter 2020/21.DFO indicated this was a post-construction site visit as a Species at Risk Act (SARA) permit had been issued for this site for the handling of Species at Risk (SAR). 

The Officer observed the following:
- A clear span bridge was in place for vehicle access. The inner geotextile layer on the sidewalls was damaged (torn) in some areas, but the outer liner was fully intact. Trans Mountain indicated the bridge wold be repaired before work resumes in the area.
- Log cribbing was in place on both banks.
- The disturbance of riparian vegetation appeared to have been limited to space required for the bridge and pipeline crossing.
- Willow staking was in place on the east bank. Due to the terrain the Officer was unable to view the stakes closely, but no fresh growth was evident from a distance.
- Signage in place for navigation and for biosecurity cleaning (whirling disease).
 

Compliance tool used: No compliance tool used

Observation 4 - Pre-Construction Site Visits

Date & time of visit: 2020-10-14 12:00

Discipline: Environmental Protection

Categories:

Facility:

Observations:

Several watercourses (14) in Spread 2 contain critical habitat for Athabasca Rainbow Trout, a species at risk. DFO required information about pre-construction conditions at these watercourses as part of the process under the Fisheries Act and Species at Risk Act. Nine (9) of the 14 watercourses were visited during this inspection. 

As noted in IR No. 1, Trans Mountain provided updates on the critical habitat watercourses in advance of construction. The conditions observed in the field were consistent with the information provided by Trans Mountain, with the exception of Ponoka Creek, where clearing had not taken place within the riparian buffer.

The observations made at individual watercourses are summarized in the table below. 
 

IDNameApprox. KPPreviously Cleared within RBZ (Y/N)Other Notes
AB-153aUnnamed tributaries to Ponoka Creek292.89Y
  • Stakes showing path of channel; DFO indicated likely subsurface flow I this area
  • No evidence of erosion
  • Signage and staking and flagging in place
AB-154a293.1Y
  • Was not previously on list from Trans Mountain; stake labeled “AB-New”
AB-154b293.64Y
  • Signage, staking and flagging in place
AB-155Ponoka Creek294N
  • Steep banks, clearing had occurred to top of bank;
  • Vegetation intact in riparian area, no erosion noted
  • Animal den found at base of spruce tree within RBZ just south of the RoW. Trans Mountain indicated a resource specialist would assess the site prior to clearing.
AB-157Roundcroft Creek297.13Y
  • Full width clearing of big trees was complete, no stumping or grubbing
  • Watercourse signage at top of slope
  • Rollback on access road
  • No evidence of erosion
AB-163Unnamed tributary to Hunt Creek303.27N
  • Environmental features in the area were staked and flagged. A wetland is in the vicinity and potential staking errors were identified (e.g., wrong label). Trans Mountain indicated they would have this fixed.
  • Based on flags/stakes, the crossing location appeared to be immediately downstream of where AB-163 enters Hunt Creek. DFO led discussions about possible complications due to location of crossing and indicated they would like to see a trenchless crossing.
  • No clearing had occurred.
AB-164Hunt Creek303.36N
AB-167Trail Creek307.71N
  • Flows directly into Athabasca River
  • Staking and flagging in place
  • No clearing had occurred
  • DFO led discussion about whether a trenchless crossing may be possible
AB-194Unnamed tributary to Maskuta Creek332.08N
  • Non fish-bearing; indirect habitat contributions;
  • Steep banks;
  • Staking and flagging in place.
AB-202Unnamed tributary to Maskuta Creek337.14N
  • No evidence of any Project activity other than survey – stakes and flags were in place marking RBZ, RoW

No non-compliances were observed in the field. 

Compliance tool used: No compliance tool used

Observation 5 - IR No. 3 - Clearing Species at Risk Habitat

Discipline: Environmental Protection

Categories:

Facility:

Observations:

In-field discussions were held with the Inspection Officer, DFO Biologists and Trans Mountain regarding the clearing of critical habitat watercourses over winter 2019/20.

DFO indicated that a Fisheries Act authorization and SARA permit would be required for the 14 watercourses and that no work should occur within the 30 m riparian buffer at any of the 14 watercourses until DFO has completed their assessments.  Company Representative confirmed a full freeze would occur on the list of 14 crossings.

Vehicle crossings were briefly discussed, and it was determined that Trans Mountain should discuss the matter further with DFO.

Compliance tool used: Information Request (IR)

Regulatory requirement:

Relevant section(s):

Company action required:

  1. Confirm that no construction will occur within the 30 m riparian buffer at watercourses with critical habitat. 
  2. Provide documentation showing how this was communicated to crews.
  3. Provide results of any discussions with DFO about vehicle crossings at these watercourses.

Due date: 2021-01-31

Date closed: 2021-02-02
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