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Enbridge: A Job Well Done

Post-construction field work complete for Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline project

The official record shows that construction of the Canadian portion of Enbridge’s Line 3 Replacement Program (L3RP) was completed more than four years ago and that the new pipeline came into commercial service in December 2019.

But as the general public marked those milestones, small Enbridge construction crews readied to tackle a final series of tasks – ensuring full and final restoration of the 1,070-km pipeline’s surface corridor to its pre-construction state.

“Most people thought we were done with Line 3 in 2019, but there’s plenty of work that goes on in the field even after construction is complete and a new pipeline becomes operational,” says Enbridge Construction Manager Allen Sawatzky. “With the last seed sown within the pipeline right-of-way (RoW) at the end of October, we can now say the job is truly complete.”

Going forward, maintenance of the pipeline RoW will continue under the Enbridge Operations team.

At the time of its construction, L3RP was the largest Canadian pipeline project in more than a decade. It included installation of 36-inch-diameter, Canadian-made steel pipe over a vast stretch of the Prairies, three above-ground tanks capable of storing up to 1 million barrels of oil, and 18 pump stations to keep the product flowing. Construction took place over several seasons by a peak workforce of about 5,300.

Both during and after construction, Enbridge worked closely with landowners to identify patches of land that would require additional attention such as reseeding, noxious weed control or rearranging topsoil among other measures. Aerial and ground surveys also helped pinpoint these areas.

By the start of 2023, a total of 84 items remained in need of some form of additional attention. With the support of subcontractors – Castle Oilfield Construction of Virden, MB and Neil Charteris Reclamation Services Inc. of Kerrobert, SK – this final field work commenced in the spring and wrapped up in a snow-dusted field near Kerrobert on Oct. 29.

The full scope of work in 2023 involved:

· Reseeding pasture seed mixes following a third year of drought and poor germination in parts of Alberta and Saskatchewan;

· No-till drilling and hydro seed (applied wet with tackifier seed mix) to stick to steep, dry slopes;

· Rearranging topsoil and repairing settled ditch lines;

· Side-by-side chemical boom spraying, select hand spraying and mowing to control weeds; and,

· Tractor, skid steer and whipper snipper hand mowing.

“From the very beginning, Enbridge made a commitment that we would leave the land in as good or in better condition than it was before construction started,” Sawatzky says, “and we can now say we’ve done what we said we would do and made good on that promise.”

The construction manager’s words are borne out by a total of 61 formal field inspections conducted by the Canada Energy Regulator (CER) dating to September 2017. While the focus of these inspections was environmental protection and reclamation, they also touched on erosion and sediment control, sites of Indigenous significance and general environmental compliance.

In keeping with commitments to landowners and Indigenous communities, the restoration crew also featured a monitor from the Canadian Association of Energy Pipeline & Landowner Associations (CAEPLA) as well as an Indigenous construction liaison.

“At the end of the day, the people who live along or in proximity to the pipeline right-of-way are Enbridge’s neighbours and we have an obligation to continuously live up to the trust that they’ve placed in us,” Sawatzky concludes. “That’s really what drives us.”

For the restoration crew, each morning began early with a “tailgate” safety meeting to discuss the day’s work.

Spraying crew

Line 3 Construction Manager Allen Sawatzky (right) and contractor Brodie Charteris checking progress along the RoW

No-till seeding near Stanraer, SK

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