The following provides guidance for routine municipal operations and maintenance activities potentially resulting in construction, ground disturbance or vehicle crossings within the vicinity of an NEB-regulated pipeline. Each ground disturbance, construction activity or vehicle crossing is unique and this guidance cannot deal with all cases. Its purpose is to help determine whether a municipality must notify the pipeline company for a safety assessment prior to commencing a municipal operations or maintenance activity using the one-call centre, or the pipeline company directly in the Northwest Territories. Where the situation is unclear, or municipal staff are unsure whether the pipeline company is to be notified, always opt for the increased communication and contact the one-call centre at info-ex.com to place a locate request. Where this guidance conflicts with the National Energy Board Act (NEB Act) or Damage Prevention Regulations – Authorizations (DPR-A), and / or Damage Prevention Regulations – Obligations of Pipeline Companies, or any Order made under the NEB Act or Regulations, the NEB Act, Regulations or Order shall prevail.
If the activity is a ground disturbance (as defined in the NEB Act), among other requirements, the Regulations require contacting the one-call centre to request a locate, which triggers the damage prevention process. Ground disturbance is defined as any activity within the prescribed area1 that involves:
- agricultural cultivation to depths of 45 cm or more, below the surface of the ground; or
- the soil otherwise being disturbed or displaced to a depth of 30 cm or more, or resulting in a reduction of the earth cover over the pipeline.
It may not be possible to determine the original depth of earth cover provided at the time the pipeline was constructed. For guidance purposes, if the activity results in the reduction of the current depth of earth cover over the pipeline, it is a ground disturbance.
If the scope of an activity near a pipeline changes from being less than 30 cm deep to 30 cm deep or greater, work shall stop and the pipeline company must be contacted to perform a safety assessment of the activity.
Municipal staff should consider putting controls in place in situations where they are required to use stakes or pins, such as marking the 30 cm point on the stake or pin to visually confirm that it is not driven into the ground 30 cm or deeper. An example of where stakes or pins are used is the placement of building forms for concrete sidewalk replacements.
Prior to driving municipal vehicles across a pipeline in a location that is off of a public highway or road, municipal staff must contact the pipeline company to provide a list of vehicle classes and associated axle weights of the vehicles that are planned to be used to cross the pipeline. The pipeline company will use that information to develop a vehicle management plan for municipal vehicles crossing the pipeline. The vehicle management plan should be reviewed by municipal and pipeline company staff on a regular basis. Where there are frequent crossings, the municipality and the pipeline company could consider long term vehicle pathways.
If soil conditions are such that the vehicle could leave ruts, municipal staff should consider different approaches to accessing the job site. Rutting of 30 cm or greater constitutes a ground disturbance and could impact the personal safety of staff or damage the pipe or its coating. Municipal staff must contact the pipeline company for a safety assessment if these soil conditions exist.
To consult the document: NEB – Guidance For Municipal Operations and Maintenance Activities
1The prescribed area means a strip of land measured 30 m perpendicularly on each side from the centreline of a pipe.