Protecting Water

Protecting Water

TransCanada recognizes water as a fundamental component of the ecosystems where we operate. The protection of our water resources is of the utmost importance to both the environment and our business.

How We Protect Water

Whenever the potential exists for a proposed facility or pipeline to interact with water resources, we conduct evaluations to understand the full nature and extent of the interactions.

TransCanada plays a key role in advancements related to reducing the environmental impacts not only of our own activities, but across the industry. We continually study and predict the effects of pipelines on soil, surface water and groundwater conditions to ensure every possible step is taken to mitigate impacts.

Water Crossings

When planning to build a new pipeline, information is gathered about water bodies along a proposed pipeline route. This information, along with regulatory requirements, industry best practices, constructability and economic feasibility, is used to determine the pipeline installation method.

Read more in our water crossing fact sheet.


How We Cross Water Safely

Given the sensitivity of water resources, environmental protection measures are implemented to avoid or minimize potential adverse effects on the environment at water body crossings during construction and throughout the life cycle of our pipeline operations.

Learn more about the techniques we use to cross rivers and streams when installing new pipelines.


Innovation Reduces Environmental Impact

TransCanada borrows fresh water from water resources to test the integrity of our pipelines. When we conduct hydrostatic pressure testing of our pipelines, water is returned to the environment only after testing and treating if required, in compliance with all applicable regulations. Still, we continue to invest our R&D dollars to reduce environmental impact through advancement of tools such as Electromagnetic Acoustic Transducer (EMAT) technology.

Our advancement of EMAT technology, a non-destructive inline inspection tool that uses sound waves to detect defects in steel pipelines, has allowed EMAT to be used as an alternative to the hydrostatic testing of pipelines, eliminating impact to water sources and resulting in considerable cost savings. TransCanada continues our work on this important innovative initiative as part of our commitment to protecting the environment.


Performance and Recognition

"(The Project of the Year award) is a high honour in the world of trenchless crossing technology. It means a lot to those of us who work day in and day out to install pipelines in a way that minimizes the environmental impact while delivering the energy products our society needs." Tim Smith, pipeline project manager for the Northern Courier Pipeline Project

In 2016, our work on the Northern Courier Pipeline earned us the Project of the Year award by the North American Society for Trenchless Technology, an organization dedicated to the benefits of trenchless water-crossing technology.

Learn more about how we built North America’s longest, 42-inch wide HDD (horizontal directional drill) and earned the award.


Case Study: Restoring Trout Habitat

Sometimes, small steps can springboard into giant leaps. After flooding in southern Alberta necessitated work on our NGTL Pipeline system, we took the opportunity to go the extra mile and restored the nearby habitat of a threatened species of trout.

Learn more about our role in this important project

Case Study


Always Being Prepared

TransCanada has a long-standing commitment to protecting the environment where we live and work. While we have a top industry safety record, we believe every incident is preventable and strive for zero safety incidents.

That being said, our rigorous emergency management system also ensures we are prepared in the case of an incident at one of our facilities or along our pipelines, including regular emergency drills to ensure we have the tools and resources to protect people and the environment, including water resources.

Our ability to respond was tested recently during a day-and-a-half-long exercise, dubbed “Operation Riverboat,” that simulated an oil spill resulting from a third-party pipeline strike near water in Yankton, South Dakota.

Read more to find out how we performed during the drill.