Compliance Verification Activity Report: CV1920-490 - NOVA Gas Transmission Ltd.

Overview

Compliance verification activity type: Field Inspection

Activity #: CV1920-490
Start date: 2020-01-26
End date: 2020-01-28

Team:

Regulated company: NOVA Gas Transmission Ltd.

Operating company: TransCanada PipeLines Limited

Province(s) / Territory(s):

Discipline(s):

Related events:

Rationale and scope:

The North Montney Mainline Project is a 306 km construction of NPS 42 pipe and related components in northeastern BC. Spread 1 is approximately 52 km long and includes several river crossings (Pine, Peace and Moberly Rivers), the Pine River Sand Dunes, several wetlands, and the Peace Moberly Tract. This inspection was recommended by staff based on a previous activity and focused on the Moberly Slope, a steep, large slope with high erosion potential, and the Peace Moberly Tract (PMT), an environmentally sensitive and culturally significant area to local Indigenous communities.

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 - Moberly River (approximately KP 31)

Date & time of visit: 2020-01-26 13:10

Discipline: Environmental Protection

Categories:

Facility:

Observations:

Final clean-up was completed in late 2019 and included the installation of diversion berms and other sediment and erosion control structures. The sediment and erosion control plan was provided to and reviewed by IOs in advance of the inspection. Due to deep snow (approximately 0.5 to 1 meter in depth) and the steep slope, the following observations were made from the top of the south slope:

No non-compliances were observed at the Moberly Slope at the time of the inspection.

Compliance tool used: No compliance tool used

Observation 2 - Mixed Bury Cover Sump Site (KP 26+600)

Date & time of visit: 2020-01-26 15:00

Discipline: Environmental Protection

Categories:

Facility:

Observations:

IOs inspection the sump site at approximately KP 26+600, an area being used for the disposal of drilling mud from the Horizontal Directional Drill of the Peace River.  At the time of the inspection, the site was in use, however no crews were actively working at the time (as it was a Sunday).

Company Representatives explained that the site consists of 9 pits (or cells), four of which were complete. The other pits were in various stages of completion. The pits are used for disposal of drilling mud and are tested according to provincial standards. It was further explained that the area is to be treated as a sensitive environmental habitat (e.g., requiring additional levels of secondary commitment similar to that required near a wetland) as any spills to the pits would require additional extensive testing for contamination. The pits are several meters in depth and approximately an average of 10 X 20 m and present a potential hazard to wildlife falling in.
The site was generally tidy of litter and construction materials, excepting a central area was used for storage of materials and small equipment. Materials stored in this area included a light tower, frost fighter, hand tools, fire extinguishers, generators, chemicals (e.g., hydraulic oil), and hoses. The tent was overcrowded, with materials stacked atop one another (e.g., chemicals stacked atop generators) with little room to safely move around. CER IOs inspected this area to the extent possible without physically moving equipment.
Several (3-5) pieces of heavy equipment (excavators and dozers) were observed in the general area of the storage tent and the two active pits. No leaks were observed on any of the equipment and biosecurity inspection stickers were visible. The equipment also included stickers indicating the requirement for hearing protection within 2 m of the operating machine with a blank to be filled in with the sound level (in decibels).

Three light towers were in place beside Pit 9, near some heavy equipment. None of the three light towers in this location had spill kits. An additional light tower and a frost fighter (heating equipment) were located on the mats in the central storage area. A spot spill (possibly coolant) was observed between the light towers and the nearby equipment.

An industrial garbage bin with a fenced lid (to prevent wildlife access) was located in the far south-west corner of the site. Metal fencing materials were observed at the back of the site, more than 100-200 m away from the active sump sites.   

Repeated non-compliances were identified in the sump site area on 26 January 2020 and identified to Company Representatives (Environmental Inspector [EI]). At a meeting attended by IOs at 7 am the following morning, the EI communicated to the Project personnel that the site was not up to standard and would be addressed that day.  IOs returned to the site that afternoon (approximately 3:45pm) and observed that many, but not all, of issues had been addressed.  

The non-compliances observed in this location are described in greater detail in additional observations below:

The numerous and repeated non-compliances and potential hazards at the location of the sump site contributed to additional enforcement action (Inspection Officer Order [IOO] HCA-001-2020).  This IOO required NGTL to take immediate measures to address the numerous non-compliances at the site and to undertake a fulsome check of this and other similar locations.

Compliance tool used: No compliance tool used

Observation 3 - The Peace Moberly Tract (PMT)

Date & time of visit: 2020-01-27 12:00

Discipline: Environmental Protection

Categories:

Facility:

Observations:

Approximately 10 km of the Spread 1 is within the PMT, an environmentally sensitive area of cultural importance to local First Nations. NGTL developed the Peace Moberly Tract Protection Plan (PMTPP) as required by Condition 11 of the Project authorization (Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity GC-125). The PMTPP includes additional mitigation beyond those outlined in the Project Environmental Protection Plan (EPP) and all workers are required to attend PMT-specific orientation prior to work within the PMT.

The entrance to the PMT was clearly signed and log-in information was required. IOs were asked to provide confirmation of PMT-orientation to the worker on duty, who also recorded vehicle information. The CER IOs drove slowly (~5-10 km/hr) down several kilometers of the pipeline right-of-way (RoW) within the PMT. RoW was not closely inspected as it was snow-covered and no active work was occurring at the time of the inspection, however, the slow driving speed allowed for some high-level observations:

IOs began inspecting on-foot at the top of the Peace River Slope at approximately KP 47+850. Pipeline construction activities, including a line of sight-bore and the Peace River Horizontal Directional Drill (HDD) were completed prior to the inspection and crews were demobilizing (removing) equipment and materials from the bore area and the HDD. The steep slope down to the Peace River (~18% grade) requires additional safety considerations including winching vehicles up and down.

The “Slope Support Area” included a central area with an office, storage shack, designated smoking area and fueling tank.
Upon arrival at the slope support area, IOs were provided with a Field Level Hazard Assessment and entered the storage shack to sign onto the site. The storage shack contained assorted small tools (e.g., broom, shovel) neatly stored and a garbage bin (approximately 120 L).
Upon entry to the shack, a hydro-carbon like odour was detectable and it was determined that the odour came from used spill clean-up supplies. The spill pads were contained within a tied garbage bag that was placed within the ~120 L garbage bin. See Notice of Non-Compliance #3 – Waste Disposal and Chemical Storage, for additional details and corrective action.

Multiple spill kits were immediate adjacent to the large fuel tank, and a drip pan was on site near the fueling nozzle. The tank appeared to be sitting on matting, but due to the snow and ice IOs were unable to confirm whether additional containment measures were in place under the tank. Please refer to “Information Request #3” for more details.

Bore Exit – Approximately KP 48+700
An industrial sized waste bin, a light tower, a frost fighter, a bulldozer and an excavator were stationed in the area of the bore exit.
The waste bin was not labeled and did not have a lid, and was empty at the time of the inspection and not in use.

During a walk-around of the bulldozer, IOs observed that it was dirty (including grease stained gaskets) and two distinct spills were observed underneath the machine. The equipment log book for operators was checked and the last date recorded was 8 January 2020. The worker on site confirmed that this piece of equipment had been there for a couple of weeks as it was back up for slope support (winching). When asked, the worker indicated that they do walk-arounds for spills but that these walk-arounds are not documented. See Notice of Non-Compliance #4 – Spill Response for additional details.

A light tower was observed in the bore exit area. No spill kit was observed on the light tower. In addition, a large area (approximately 50x50cm) of soil staining (from exhaust) was observed immediately behind the light tower. IOs indicated to Company Representatives that this was considered to be a spill as it’s still a potential contaminant to soil. Additionally, this is a repeated non-compliance as the same situation was observed and identified as a non-compliance on a previous inspection of this Spread (CV1819-549).

Bore EntryApproximately KP 48+400
The only work underway at this location at the time of the inspection was demobilization. Several pieces of stationary equipment (e.g., light towers, generators, frost fighters) were observed in this location and checked for spills kits, leaks and fire extinguishers.Debris from rig mats was observed throughout the area as well as small pieces of construction waste (including zip ties and geotextile).

The above observations are included in Notice of Non-Compliance (NNC) #2 (Safety) and NNC #4 – Spill Response, below.

A truck was also observed idling for approximately 10-15 minutes with a worker sitting within. The EI was observed speaking to the driver, who turned off the truck immediately.

Compliance tool used: No compliance tool used

Observation 4 - Information Request #1 - Access Control

Date & time of visit: 2020-01-26 13:10

Discipline: Environmental Protection

Categories:

Facility:

Observations:

Snowmobile tracks were observed on the north slope of the Moberly River. While in the field, Company Representatives did not believe that the tracks were Project-related. The following morning, Company Representatives indicated that they had learned that the tracks were from “PMT Monitors” - members of a local First Nation community who, while not employed on the Project, were permitted access for the purposes of sharing information back to their community. Company Representatives further indicated that the PMT Monitors provide weekly reports to the Environmental Inspector.

Compliance tool used: Information Request (IR)

Regulatory requirement:

Relevant section(s):

Company action required:

Provide a written response indicating the effectiveness of access management measures in the area of the inspection, including, at a minimum:

Due date: 2020-03-16

Date closed: 2020-03-26
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 - Information Request #2 - Environmental Responsibilities for Spread 1

Date & time of visit: 2020-01-26 09:00

Discipline: Environmental Protection

Categories:

Facility:

Observations:

At the Opening Meeting, IOs requested additional information regarding the various environmental roles on the Spread and the responsibilities of each (e.g, Environmental Support, Lead EI, EI). This verbal request did not include a timeline.
Given the numerous and repeated non-compliances observed during this inspection, CER IOs require additional information regarding roles and responsibilities and lines of communication for ensuring that environmental risks and hazards are being identified and managed.

Compliance tool used: Information Request (IR)

Regulatory requirement:

Relevant section(s):

Company action required:

Provide a written response detailing the roles and responsibilities and lines of communication for ensuring that environmental risks and hazards are being identified and managed.

Due date: 2020-03-16

Date closed: 2020-03-26
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 6 - Information Request #3 - PMT Fuel Tank

Date & time of visit: 2020-01-27 13:00

Discipline: Environmental Protection

Categories:

Facility:

Observations:

As noted above, a large fuel tank (diesel) was located at the top of the Peace River slope in the PMT. A large barrel spill kit was on-site and multiple smaller spill kits were observed at either end of the tank. A drip pan was located near the fuel nozzle and the tank itself was placed on matting. Company Representatives indicated that the tank was double-walled (i.e., built-in secondary containment).

IOs were unable to determine whether any additional external containment was in place to prevent drips or spills (e.g., from fueling) from contacting the ground. Although a drip pan was at the tank location, it was not immediately under the fuel nozzle, which was hanging on the side of the tank. IOs discussed the increased risk of spills in this location (e.g., through improper use of drip pan) and the environmental sensitivity of the area (in the Peace Moberly Tract) with Company Representatives.

The Project’s Chemical and Waste Management Plan has a purpose to “reduce the likelihood of an accidental release of potentially hazardous waste products into the environment during construction” (EPP Appendix IF, page 1F-1). Specific mitigation related to fueling is primarily focused around the transport of fuel (e.g., fuel trucks) and avoidance of fueling-related activities within 100 m of a watercourse and wetland. Company Representatives indicated that the fuel tank is more than 100 m away from a watercourse or wetland.

IOs also note that a Guiding Principle of the Chemical and Waste Management Plan (the Plan) is “Reasonable preventative measures will be taken to avoid the release of wastes and hazardous materials into the environment” and that this principle has “been incorporated into the Plan” (EPP, Appendix IF, page 1F-2).

Given the sensitive environmental nature of the environment and non-compliance to the Plan in other locations, CER IOs require additional information to confirm that the potential environmental hazard at this location is being mitigated.

Compliance tool used: Information Request (IR)

Regulatory requirement:

Relevant section(s):

Company action required:

  1. Indicate whether any external containment is present in the area around the fueling tank other than the drip pan.
  2. Provide any instructions for workers that have been provided regarding fueling in this location.
  3. Discuss how NGTL has ensured that instructions outlined in (2) have been followed.
  4. Indicate whether NGTL will undertake any additional measures following removal of the tank to confirm whether fuel has been released to the environment at this location.

Due date: 2020-03-16

Date closed: 2020-03-26
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 - Notice of Non-Compliance (NNC) #1 – Wildlife Exclusion Fencing At Sump Site

Date & time of visit: 2020-01-26 15:00

Discipline: Environmental Protection

Categories:

Facility:

Observations:

Pits 9 & 4 at the Mixed Bury Sump site were not entirely fenced off. Berms were in place approximately 1-2 meters high, but were insufficient to ensure wildlife (such as deer) were kept out of the pits.

Company Representatives indicated that the need for fencing had been previously communicated to the contractor and that fences were put in place daily with the exception of the night prior to the CER inspection. Officers requested documentation demonstrating that this was previously communicated. Company Representatives indicated that this requirement was previously noted on a daily EI report from October 2019. They further indicated that the site would be active 24 hours a day for the foreseeable future.

When IOs returned to the sump site the second day the fences were in place, with appropriate gaps to allow equipment to access the pits.

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

Regulatory requirement:

Relevant section(s):

Company action required:

  1. Provide the Oct 20 Spread 1 daily EI report that was mentioned to IOs in the field regarding the requirement for perimeter wildlife fencing.
  2. Indicate how NGTL will ensure that the fences are in place on a nightly basis. This should also address the apparent scheduling irregularities in overnight work at the site.
  3. If non-conformance reports were previously issued to the Contractor for this issue, please provide the date(s) these were issued and a representative sample of the non-conformance reports.

Due date: 2020-03-16

Date closed: 2020-03-27
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 - Notice of Non-Compliance #2 - Safety Hazards

Date & time of visit: 2020-01-26 13:30

Discipline: Safety Management

Categories:

Facility:

Observations:

The scope of this inspection was focused on environmental protection. However, during the inspection, several potential safety hazards were observed by IOs:

The propane tank was addressed immediately, and the other three potential hazards were part of IOO HCA-001-2020. No additional corrective action is required. IOs also informed the CER safety inspectors of these observations.

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

Regulatory requirement:

Relevant section(s):

Company action required:

Corrective Action for NNC#2 was completed as part of the Inspection Officer Order.  No additional corrective action is required at this time.

Due date: 2020-02-05

Date closed: 2020-02-18
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 9 - Notice of Non-Compliance #3 - Waste and Chemical Storage

Date & time of visit: 2020-01-26 13:30

Discipline: Environmental Protection

Categories:

Facility:

Observations:

Multiple non-compliances to the Waste and Chemical Storage Plan (the Plan) were observed. Additional background information about the locations in which these non-compliances were observed are provided in the above observations (Mixed Bury Cover Sump Site and Peace Moberly Tract).

Mixed Bury Cover Sump Site
This area had several hazardous materials stored in a manner that was non-compliant to the requirements in the Plan. Given time constraints (losing daylight) and safety considerations such as moving hazardous materials, IOs were unable to conduct a fulsome sweep of the storage tent to confirm whether additional non-compliances were on-site, but did observe the following:

Company Representatives indicated that active work would continue in this area for several weeks.

PMT – Peace River Slope Support Area
Used spill clean-up supplies were observed in an open ~120-L garbage bucket in the enclosed support shed. Although the spill materials (hazardous waste) were in a separate bag that was tied off, a hydrocarbon-like odour was detectable in the shed. The worker on site indicated that the practice was to remove hazardous waste from that location to the construction yard at the end of each day.

IOs have determined that these observations are non-compliances to the Chemical and Waste Management Plan and consider them to be repeated non-compliances (i.e., repeats of same/similar non-compliance). These observations contributed to enforcement action (Inspection Officer Order HCA-001-2020) which required immediate action to address the non-compliances in the area.

However, additional corrective action is required related to Waste and Chemical Storage, particularly in the area of the Sump Site given the ongoing activity.

 

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

Regulatory requirement:

Relevant section(s):

Company action required:

  1. Correction of non-compliances identified by IOs and a fulsome sweep of the areas for additional hazards and non-compliances
This action was required as part of Inspection Officer Order HCA-001-2020. See that observation below. 2. Confirm whether the shed at the Peace Slope Support area was a designated or short-term hazardous material storage area and, if it was, provide supporting documentation. If not, indicate how hazardous materials will be stored at this location.

3. Provide a detailed and specific plan that NGTL will use to verify future compliance for waste and chemical storage at the Mixed Bury Sump Site.

Due date: 2020-03-04

Date closed: 2020-04-01
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 10 - Notice of Non-Compliance #4 - Spill Response

Date & time of visit: 2020-01-27 12:00

Discipline: Environmental Protection

Categories:

Facility:

Observations:

A total of five spot spills (small volume, drip-like) were noticed on the ground (snow) by CER IOs during the inspection.

1. Mixed Bury Sump Site Spot Spill (possibly coolant)

Spot Spills in the Peace Moberly Tract
2. Unidentified Green Spill3. Generator spill4. Bulldozer DZ185 – Possible hydraulic oil spill5. Bulldozer DZ185 – possible grease spillIn addition to the spills, IOs observed multiple pieces (approximately 9) of stationary, fuel-bearing equipment (e.g., light towers, generators) that did not have spill kits. These pieces of equipment were observed near the HDD sump site and within the Peace Moberly Tract. During on-site discussions, Company Representatives confirmed that the equipment observed do require spill kits.

Mitigation and commitments to prevent and respond to spills is throughout the Project EPP. Given the lack of spill kits and the numerous spills observed, Officers were concerned about the ability to respond to spills in a timely manner as required by the EPP. These observations contributed to IOO HCA-001-2020.

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

Regulatory requirement:

Relevant section(s):

Company action required:

1. Provide spill reports for the spills noted above unless they were previously provided as part of HCA-001-2020.
  2. Provide additional communication to crews regarding the need to immediately clean up spills.

This was completed as part of IOO HCA-001-2020. No further action is required on part (2). 3. Indicate whether NGTL will implement any additional measures to reduce the potential impact of spills from heavy equipment that is not in use for extended periods of time. If so, indicate the extent of these measures (i.e., whether they will apply to other Project spreads).

Due date: 2020-03-06

Date closed: 2020-04-06
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 11 - Inspection Officer Order (IOO) HCA-001-2020

Date & time of visit: 2020-01-28 21:00

Discipline: Environmental Protection

Categories:

Facility:

Observations:

Numerous and repeated non-compliances and hazards primarily around waste and hazardous material storage, spill response, and fire extinguishers resulted in immediate enforcement action.

Inspection Officer Order HCA-001-2020 was issued to NGTL on 28 January 2020 and Order NGTL to take specified measures in the immediate and short-term to prevent or mitigate hazards to the environment. The full text of the IOO can be found on the CER’s Compliance and Enforcement Webpage.

The specified measures required are copied below:

Immediate Measures (no later than 31 January 2020)

  1. Address the non-compliances identified during the inspection.
  2. Provide additional communication regarding the importance of environmental protection to the entire workforce.
  3. Provide documentation to the Inspection Officer via email confirming Specified Measure No. 2 has been satisfied, including:
Measures to be Completed As Soon as Practicable (but no later than 4 February 2020)
  1. Conduct a fulsome check for environmental non-compliances and/or hazards against any relevant requirements in the Environmental Protection Plan and Peace Moberly Tract Protection Plan for Spread 1 of the Project. The checks are to be conducted in areas with parked and stationary equipment, waste storage or hazardous material storage, including but not limited to right-of-way, yards and camps.
  2. Provide documentation to the Inspection Officer via email confirming Specified Measure No. 4 has been satisfied, including:
    •  Areas checked (location, size, description of site);
    • A detailed list of non-compliances and/or hazards identified at each location; and
    • Corrective actions taken for each non-compliance and hazard, including timing.
  3. Provide a detailed plan for ongoing and regular communication about the importance of environmental protection to the workforce and the need to anticipate, prevent, manage and mitigate environmental hazards as required by s. 48 of the Onshore Pipeline Regulations This plan should include:
    • How and when the information will be communicated;
    • Specifics regarding the messages that will be provided; and
    • How NGTL will continue to verify that the contracted and sub-contracted workforce is improving performance with respect to environmental protection.
The IOO also required NGTL to file, with the Secretary’s office, a single package of the documentation sent to the IO for Specified Measure Nos. 3 & 5 no later than 5 February 2020.

IOs reviewed the material provided by NGTL and a Notice of Measures Satisfied was issued to NGTL (and is available for viewing on the Compliance and Enforcement Webpage).

No additional corrective action is required under the IOO.

Compliance tool used: Inspection Officer Order (IOO)

Regulatory requirement:

Relevant section(s):

Company action required:

All corrective actions were previously completed in response to HCA-001-2020.  No additional corrective action is required at this time.

Due date: 2020-02-05

Date closed: 2020-02-18
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