How We Respond
For Enbridge, our primary duty is to protect the safety of people and the environment while safely delivering the energy we all count on. That means anticipating and addressing potential problems to prevent incidents long before they occur. This approach guides every one of our decisions, actions and interactions as we plan and build new projects, and as we operate and maintain our systems, every day.
Implementing further safeguards for a safer pipeline
For more than 65 years, Enbridge’s Line 5 has transported oil and natural gas liquids without incident through the bustling Straits of Mackinac, providing crucial energy to industries and residents in Michigan.
Line 5 was engineered with the environment in mind and operates under the most extensive risk management system anywhere across our entire system.
Yet in the Enbridge view, Line 5’s pristine record of safe energy delivery just reinforces the need to proactively monitor, inspect and ensure its continuing fitness for service.
To this end, Enbridge has committed $500 million for the construction of a tunnel beneath the Straits to house a replacement of the line where it crosses the Straits, to further reinforce and protect Line 5’s outstanding safety track record.
This solution will reduce chances of a leak to near-zero, adding multiple layers of protection by placing the pipeline in a tunnel with one-foot-thick concrete walls. In addition, with the tunnel running 100 feet below the lakebed, the chances of an anchor strike from passing vessels will be fully eliminated.
While the project progresses, Enbridge has implemented additional safeguards to ensure safe operation until the tunnel is built.
One of those safeguards was the addition in October 2019 of two support vessels that monitor Straits traffic. On patrol 24/7, the vessels employ forward-looking infrared (FLIR) cameras at night to confirm that ship anchors are stowed.
In addition, a communication and monitoring system identifies approaching shipping vessels and reminds them of the no-anchor zone in the Straits to further reduce the risk of a strike.
High-resolution onshore cameras provide further around-the-clock monitoring of marine traffic to act as an early-warning and notification system.
Enbridge President and CEO Al Monaco made note of these additional safety barriers during an address last October to the Canada-United States Business Association in Detroit, highlighting the Enbridge view that environmental protection and providing critical energy supply is not an either-or proposition.
“The prime example of how seriously we take this crossing, and the environment, and the Great Lakes, is the Line 5 tunnel,” he said. “Still, we continue to add more measures to reduce risk further until and while the tunnel is being built.”
The pipeline maintenance crew at the Gretna Terminal stands by the final tie-in point of the Line 3 replacement pipeline in Canada.
Line 3 Replacement: Safety on and off the right-of-way
As 2019 drew to a close, Enbridge marked a major milestone when the Line 3 replacement pipeline in Canada shipped its first oil—the culmination of an estimated $5.3-billion investment and more than 30,000 stakeholder outreaches along a route stretching 1,097 kilometers (665 miles) from Hardisty, Alberta to Gretna, Manitoba.
The Line 3 Replacement Program (L3RP) was the largest single-build infrastructure project in company history. This monumental undertaking was successfully executed over four seasons by a peak construction force of roughly 5,300 workers and a steadfast commitment to safety—both on and off a right-of-way (ROW) encompassing more than 40 rural communities.
“We took the approach that we were guests on the landowners’ properties and in the communities where we worked and called home during construction,” said construction manager Al Sawatzky.
“Our entire workforce took this mindset every day and we saw this throughout the life of the project with respectful conduct and proactive safety responses in the communities.”
Line 3 Replacement: Safety in the community
Our emergency preparedness and response aren’t just for pipeline-related incidents, but for any safety emergency that might arise. Our off-the-ROW safety response included several occasions when Enbridge crews provided manpower and equipment to help extinguish grass fires. L3RP workers also helped motorists change flat tires, and on one occasion, freed a vehicle stuck in a snowbank on railroad tracks.
Further epitomizing proactive safety response, both on the job site and in the community, members of the project team sprang into action near Craik, Saskatchewan to provide on-scene medical assistance to an injured motorist.
The incident occurred when a gravel truck tipped onto its side, causing the driver to sustain a head injury. An Enbridge contractor was the first to arrive at the scene, administering first-aid and getting a concerned citizen to call 911. At the same time, he was able to place a call to a project medic for immediate medical assistance.
The latter arrived less than eight minutes later and completed a full trauma assessment and continuous monitoring until STARS air ambulance touched down to transport the driver to hospital in Regina, Saskatchewan.
“Our people brought a wide range of skills, including emergency medical training, which was equally important to communities along the ROW as it was to the project,” says Al Sawatzky, construction manager.
“This good corporate citizenship made our people feel very welcomed into those communities; local businesses held special events such as Welcome Pipeliners shopping days, some extended hours or set up sandwich stands and kitchens in local halls to serve workers before work.”
Buffing the pipe following welding; more than 46,000 pieces of pipe were welded together to make one continuous pipe between Hardisty, Alberta and Gretna, Manitoba.
Night shift at the Cromer Terminal, where one of the final tie-ins took place.
Line 3 Replacement: Copper recycling strengthens community initiatives
Copper recycling also provided a unique way to strengthen the response capacity of communities along the L3RP route.
Approximately 110,000 pounds of copper cable—collected and recycled following pump station construction—resulted in more than $200,000 pumped back into communities along the pipeline right-of-way. The funds were used to support a variety of initiatives, including upgraded fire protection equipment, in communities located at strategic points across the vast Canadian prairies where 18 pump stations keep oil flowing safely and reliably along the pipeline.
“It was a privilege to give back to these communities and to see the many worthwhile community projects supported by our copper recycling program, from safety to environmental stewardship to food banks,” said project manager Joe Dhaliwal.
He added that reinforcement of Enbridge’s safety culture at the project’s outset drove safety both on and off the right-of-way. In addition to enhancing proactive safety response capacity in the ROW communities, this resulted in 48 successful safety inspections from the National Energy Board and outstanding safety performance throughout the millions of person hours worked on the project.
“We set the expectation from Day 1 that we would not push schedule over safety,” said Dhaliwal. “Safety was the number-one priority and that means no shortcuts. This safety culture was reflected in our TRIF rates, with workers half as likely to be injured on the L3RP as on one of our other major projects from even a few short years ago.”
Your role in safe energy delivery
How you can help
Enbridge’s highest priority is—and always must be—the safety of the public, the communities where we live and work, of the approximately 13,600 members of our team across North America, and of the environment.
Every member of the Enbridge team strives to transport, generate and deliver the energy North America relies on as safely as possible. You have a role to play in the safe and reliable operation of the energy systems that power our communities and society as well.
There are two key ways you can contribute to the safety and reliability of Enbridge’s systems in your community. First, make sure to call or click before you dig.
It’s free, helps prevent accidental damage to our systems and could save your life.
In the United States call 8-1-1, and in Canada visit clickbeforeyoudig.com, two to three working days before you plan to do any excavation—from landscaping activities like planting trees, digging a new garden or building fences, to clearing brush or larger construction work—so that a locator can visit and mark underground utilities.
Second, be aware of the warning signs of a pipeline or gas distribution system leak and know what to do to stay safe in the event of an emergency.
If an incident occurs, your quick action and notification of emergency services and Enbridge can save lives and help protect your home, your community and the environment.
If you suspect a pipeline or gas distribution system leak or emergency, first make sure that you and those around you are safe and then, as soon as it is safe to do so, call 9-1-1 and then call Enbridge’s 24-hour emergency hotline for your area.