Lot more questions than answers on Line 9

I started this list of questions back a few weeks ago. I have found answers for some of them and I have added those. I also continue to add questions. If you have questions, email them to me at doug@durhamclear.ca and i will add them to the list.

If DurhamCLEAR gets intervenor status at the NEB hearings this list could form the basis of our questioning.

  1. what is the pipe made of? how thick are the walls? Answer: steel - mostly 1/4" thick but rising to 1/2" thick in more vulnerable areas like across rivers
  2. What is the pressure in the pipe? what pressure is it rated for?  Answer: approx 600 psi currently. Approved back in 1975 for 1000 psi
  3. Has the pipeline ever operated at the 1,000 psi it was approved for? When and for how long
  4. At what speed is the oil travelling through the pipe? Answer?: "up to 1.21 metre/sec"
  5. What is the life expectacy of the pipeline? - what are the limiting factors?
  6. why did the kalamazoo pipe fail?
  7. how is the pipeline monitored? how would you know if there was a small but steady leak?
  8. Because its buried, you can't visually inspect it - how do you know it's not corroding?
  9. pigs - how often are they deployed? how fast do they move? what inspection techniques are they using? visual? x-ray? ultrasound?
  10. were they in use on the Kalamzoo line? - what did they detect or why not?
  11. drag reducing agents - what are they chemically? - are they consistent or do they vary according to what is being transported? - are they toxic? - have their effect on the environment been evalutated? What are the effects?
  12. What exactly is the diluent in dilbit? is its composition always the same or does it vary according to what is being transported? - is it toxic? - have its effects on the environment or humans been evalutated? What are the effects? Do the people working with it know its composition? WHMIS?
  13. Do you have insurance against leaks and spills?  - how much? Answer: yes - about $600,000
  14. How are the owners of the land that your pipelines cross compensated for the use of their land? for the disruption when you have to excavate?
  15. The pictures of the kalamazoo spill look like it was a pretty catastropphic event. Is this typical of pipeline failures or are they generally smaller, slower leaks? Answer: Not typical - mostly smaller leaks. see http://durhamclear.ca/line9#comment-9
  16. Please provide a description of all past leaks on Line9 through Durham Region - even the very small ones. How was each of these first detected? What and how fast was the response? Was there any prior indications in your diagnostics that there would be a problem?What were those indications?
  17. Can dikes and diversion systems be built where the pipeline crosses waterways so that any spill does not get into the water
  18. What was the process of approval when the original pipeline was built in 1975? Answer: NEB hearing see Interprovincial Pipelines decision (pdf file) Note: 1975 was at the time of the mideast energy crisis and the federal government was eager to see this pipeline - they even agreed to cover operating losses on the pipeline in order to see it get built.
  19. Were environmental considerations a factor in the NEB hearing? Answer: Yes, but mostly generalities. See Line9assessment.
  20. Are oil pipelines subject to harmonic vibrations. Assuming Yes, what steps are undertaken to mitigate them
  21. Are leaks/ruptures on pipelines more likely at elbows
  22. On page 27 of the NEB decision which led to the construction of Line 9 in 1975 (pg 32 of the pdf), end of 2nd paragraph, IPL "stated that at major river (navigable stream) crossings circumferential welds would be X-rayed 100 per cent and that  motorized block valves would be installed on each river bank." Also note IPL's commitment in "POLICIES, PRACTICES AND PROCEDURES TO MITIGATE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT" (OH-1-74 iPL Policies-1.pdf) pg 7- River & Stream Crossings (b)-3 "Motorized block valves will be installed on each bank." Where are these block valves located? - which rivers Note that the Board stated on page 43 of the decision that "Navigational use of the river as the basis for the identification of "major" river crossings is not necessarily consistent with environmental aspects. The Board feels that what is important is that relevant environmental considerations be taken into account in locating and designing river crossings regardless of whether such crossings should be designated as major or minor from any particular viewpoint."
  23. Integrity digs - List all integrity digs performed on Line 9 in Durham Region since it was built? How were the locations determined? What was found? Remedial action taken?
  24. How frequently are the sacrificial anodes replaced?