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Safety of Our Pipelines
TransCanada’s pipelines are designed, built, and operated to ensure the safety of our natural gas and oil transportation system. We work to meet or exceed industry and government standards to ensure public safety.
Our design requirements specify only top quality steel and welding techniques will be used throughout the system. Additional safety precautions are taken where pipelines cross roads and railway tracks or where waterways are located near communities. Precautions include using thicker-walled pipe and burying the pipeline deeper in areas of higher population.
During construction, all welds are checked by an X-ray or ultrasonic process that can detect very small defects. To protect against corrosion, pipelines are coated.
Once the pipeline is welded together, it is typically pressure tested to ensure there are no defects. During these tests, the pipeline is subjected to pressures that are much higher than normal operating conditions to ensure safety under all conditions.
The entire gas transmission system is monitored 24 hours a day by highly trained TransCanada staff from computerized control centres. From there, our staff can detect changes in pressure along our pipeline and ensure that all facilities are operating properly.
Pipeline control valves are located approximately every 30 kilometres (approximately 20 miles) along the pipeline. Should pressure in the pipeline drop (for example, because of a leak), the valves are designed to automatically shut off the flow of product. This limits the amount of gas or oil that is released into the environment.
During operations, a very low-voltage electric current called cathodic protection is applied to the pipe. This is another way we protect against corrosion.
Each region is fully staffed with qualified technicians who ensure the safe and efficient operation of our facilities in the area. In addition, regional offices have access to health, safety, and environmental coordinators and pipeline integrity specialists.
We regularly inspect the entire pipeline route from low-flying helicopters and planes. We look for signs of leaks, unauthorized activity, soil disturbances on the pipeline right-of-way, or any other conditions that could affect the safety of the pipeline.
TransCanada employees may also inspect sections of the pipeline on foot or all-terrain vehicles.
Electronic in-line inspection devices, known as "smart pigs", are periodically used on sections of the pipeline system to detect defects.
Hydrostatic testing and investigative digs visually inspect the pipe condition.
TransCanada works to meet all industry and government standards.