Compliance Verification Activity Report: CV1920-479 - NOVA Gas Transmission Ltd.

Overview

Compliance verification activity type: Field Inspection

Activity #: CV1920-479
Start date: 2019-12-05
End date: 2019-12-05

Team:

Regulated company: NOVA Gas Transmission Ltd.

Operating company: NOVA Gas Transmission Ltd.

Province(s) / Territory(s):

Discipline(s):

Rationale and scope:

• Field inspection in response to incident to verify appropriate cleanup of Beaver Creek, assessment of environmental impacts and field level incident reporting. The inspection occurred two days after the incident. • Background: On 3 December 2019 at approximately 09:30 Mountain Time, a Banister Pipelines Constructors Corp (Contractor) crew working on the McLeod North project (Project) on behalf of NOVA Gas Transmission Limited (NGTL) were preparing for an isolated open cut watercourse crossing of Beaver Creek near Edson, Alberta. Pumps and hoses were installed and upon testing of the pumps, a sheen was noticed on the watercourse. The source of the sheen was determined to be hydrocarbon residue (sediment) from inside one section of hose. The pumps were immediately stopped and response and recovery measures initiated. It is estimated approximately 400 Litres of water contaminated with suspected hydrocarbon were released into the watercourse, of which the suspected hydrocarbon contaminant volume is estimated as a few litres only. There are no known users downstream of the watercourse crossing of Beaver Creek.

Compliance tool(s) used:

Facility details

Facilities:

Regulatory requirements

Regulatory requirements that apply to this activity:

Regulatory instrument number(s):

Observations (no outstanding follow-up required)

Observation 1 - Field Observations at Beaver Creek incident site

Date & time of visit: 2019-12-05 14:15

Discipline: Environmental Protection

Categories:

Facility:

Observations:

This inspection was conducted in response to an Event reported to the CER on 3 December 2019.

Event Description:  

On 3 December 2019 at approximately 09:30 Mountain Time, a Banister Pipelines Constructors Corp (Contractor) crew working on the McLeod North project (Project) on behalf of NOVA Gas Transmission Limited (NGTL) were preparing for an isolated open cut watercourse crossing of Beaver Creek near Edson, Alberta. Pumps and hoses were installed and upon testing of the pumps, a sheen was noticed on the watercourse. The source of the sheen was suspected to be hydrocarbon residue from inside one section of hose. The pumps were immediately stopped and response and recovery measures initiated. It is estimated approximately 400 Litres of water contaminated with suspected hydrocarbon were released into the watercourse, of which the suspected hydrocarbon contaminant volume was estimated as a few litres only.There are no known users downstream of the watercourse crossing of Beaver Creek. No consequences to the pipeline or property occurred as a result of the incident.

Immediate Actions Taken by Company:  

No evacuation was required as a result of this event. Due to the flow rate of the watercourse, the majority of the release was washed downstream and unable to be collected. Following the release, crews worked to recover areas of pooled contaminated water from a water diffusing structure associated with the Project located on the side of the watercourse bank. All of the material in the diffusing structure was removed and replaced with new, clean material. Response activities concluded during the day on 3 December 2019. NGTL is confirming any potential impact and notifications to First Nations and expects to provide further details in this regard on 4 December 2019.

CER Inspection Observations:

CER Inspection Officers visited the incident site on 5 December 2019 to confirm that appropriate cleanup had occurred and to assess management of any impacts, as well as steps taken by the company to prevent recurrence. IOs did not observe any evidence of either contamination or impacts of contamination within Beaver Creek both at and downstream of the event location (water discharge structure). Company representatives indicated that the water discharge structure had been replaced following the event, and it was observed to be appropriately designed and installed, and working at the time of the inspection with no contamination observed in this area. NGTL reps discussed that all hoses at the site were flushed into a containment tank to verify if contaminated or not (tank remained on site). Two sections of hose had evidence of contamination. NGTL reps confirmed they had requested the contractor label the contaminated hoses and remove them from the site. CER IOs inspected shores of the watercourse downstream of the discharge location, and no evidence of sheen or residual contamination, or impacts to wildlife was observed.

CER IOs inspected the Right of Way under construction in this area and noted secondary containment beneath light towers and generators in this area, as well as presence of spill kits in the vicinity of the crossing. No issues were noted with active work observed on site during the inspection.

CER Inspectors discussed equipment inspection requirements with on site company environmental personnel including the environmental inspectors. CER Inspectors requested additional information in follow up to the inspection on 11 December 2019, and received response to the information request (IR) from NGTL on 13 December 2019 as per their request. See Observation IR#1 Follow-up Information Requested

The occurrence of the use of hoses contaminated with hydrocarbon-laden sediment at a watercourse demonstrates to the IOs that non-compliance has occurred with the Project EPP and the Watercourse Crossing Inventory Table 2. (Mitigation Measures to Avoid Serious Harm to Fish). In particular, the event demonstrates that the requirements identified below were not successfully implemented at the Beaver Creek crossing. NGTL confirmed that it had issued a non-conformance report (NCR) to the contractor regarding the event.  In its response to the IR, NGTL discussed the immediate actions taken by the company, including flushing the remaining hoses on site, and confirming that if a visual inspection cannot be completed at the remaining watercourse crossings on the Project NGTL would seek and conduct a review of documentation providing evidence of equipment cleanliness.  The IOs are of the view that the immediate actions taken in response to the event were appropriate, however outstanding concerns remain regarding the inspection process for equipment arriving to site, and oversight of equipment cleaning.

In the case of this event, contamination resulting from unclean equipment was visible to company personnel at the time of the event in the form of sheen and sediment, at which point corrective actions were taken.  However, concerns exist regarding the presence of contamination that is not readily observable, including aquatic invasive species or diseases. This demonstrates that a higher degree of company oversight is required. Verification that an appropriate cleaning process was implemented for equipment arriving to site is required. Verification of a similar level of equipment cleanliness for other equipment arriving at a watercourse, or moving between watercourses is also required. 

In the IO’s view, the outstanding gaps in the equipment cleaning and verification process specific to watercourse crossings include:

Accordingly, additional corrective action is required. Please refer to NNC #1.
 

Compliance tool used: No compliance tool used

Observation 2 - IR#1 Follow-up Information Requested

Date & time of visit: 2019-12-11 15:05

Discipline: Environmental Protection

Categories:

Facility:

Observations:

During the course of the inspection and closing meeting, documentation and information was requested. Following the inspeciton, the following information request was issued on 11 December 2019 and a response was received 13 December 2019.

Compliance tool used: Information Request (IR)

Regulatory requirement:

Relevant section(s):

Company action required:


1) During the field inspection, NGTL reps indicated that an NCR was being drafted and would be issued to the contractor for having equipment on or near the watercourse that was not cleaned as required. 

2) The Watercourse Crossing Inventory submitted by NGTL in response to Condition 8 of Order XG-N081-003-2019, states that Beaver Creek is noted to be important habitat for sport fish species, having suitable cover, substrate, and channel complexity for sportfish including Arctic grayling and bull trout.  Fish presence (previously recorded) was cited as Arctic grayling (general status: May Be at Risks and a detailed status of Species of Special Concern), bull trout (Western Arctic drainage population status: At Risk and detailed status of Threatened), burbot, longnose sucker, mountain whitefish, rainbow trout (Athabasca River system populations status: At Risk and detailed status of Threatened), spoonhead sculpin, and white sucker. Beaver Creek was noted to have high potential rearing and overwintering habitat, and includes fall spawning fish species (Arctic grayling and bull trout). The submission includes Table 2. Mitigation Measures to Avoid Serious Harm to Fish.   
Mitigation [G3] “Equipment to be used in or adjacent to a watercourse or water body will be clean or otherwise free of external grease, oil or other fluids, mud, soil, and vegetation, prior to entering the water body. The Contractor is to ensure all tanks intended for water storage or transportation (i.e., water trucks, hydrovac equipment, and frac tanks) are clean prior to use. Upon request by the Company, the Contractor must provide documented proof of cleanliness.” (emphasis added)3) During the inspection, NGTL representatives indicated that the hoses arriving at this site had arrived from a crossing at the North Saskatchewan River. The NGTL-contracted biologist and CER inspectors briefly discussed whirling disease, and the biologist noted that whirling disease has been documented in the North Saskatchewan watershed. The incident demonstrates that observable contamination of equipment (hoses) has occurred, and the inspection team is concerned about contamination that is not so readily observable, including aquatic invasive species or diseases.
Mitigation [FP4] “All equipment (e.g., machinery, pumps or water intakes, personal protective equipment such as waders) will be cleaned and disinfected as per the standards provided in the AEP's Decontamination Protocol for Watercraft and Equipment and the draft Decontamination Instructions for Industrial and Construction Operations.” (emphasis added)4) During the inspection NGTL representatives provided a copy of a document titled “Timely Notification of Events to Canadian Regulatory Compliance (CRC) that the Reps confirmed had been re-sent to Project staff and others.5) During the inspection, NGTL representatives stated that samples of water and the visible contaminated sediment had been obtained and sent for laboratory analysis.  
 

Due date: 2019-12-13

Date closed: 2020-01-06
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 - NNC #1 - Equipment cleanliness

Date & time of visit: 2020-01-06 09:00

Discipline: Environmental Protection

Categories:

Facility:

Observations:

NGTL was unable to demonstrate to CER IOs that appropriate cleaning of equipment is occurring to mitigate hazards presented by aquatic invasive species or diseases. Further, NGTL was unable to provide documentation from its contractor documenting proof of equipment cleanliness.

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

Regulatory requirement:

Relevant section(s):

Company action required:

NGTL will develop and implement a water crossing equipment cleaning plan. The plan will include measures to demonstrate it is meeting the requirements (G3 and FP4) listed in its project EPP, and will explictly discuss how provincial cleaning requirements are being met. In its response, NGTL will include a discussion of how the plan will be communicated to relevant personnel and contractors responsible for its implementation, as well as how these corrective actions will be integrated into future projects.

 

Due date: 2020-02-18

Date closed: 2020-04-07
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