Minimizing environmental impacts at every stage
We respect the land, culture and communities where we operate from pipeline concept to construction and beyond. From the very first stages of planning for the Keystone XL, we’ve set out to ensure the project would be the most technologically advanced, rigorously designed and safest pipeline ever built and operated.
Before we build
Conducting field surveys, listening to landowners and collecting data are critical to gaining an understanding of the local environment, making informed decisions and developing plans to minimize potential impacts.
Performed by subject matter experts, field surveys may include, but are not limited to:
Fisheries and Aquatics
Fisheries biologists and field technicians collect information related to species composition and their habitats.
Wildlife biologists conduct surveys of wildlife found in the vicinity of the project, including species at risk and wildlife habitat.
Surveys are conducted on agricultural lands to document baseline soil conditions and to help set soil-handling measures.
Vegetation and Wetlands
Vegetation and wetland specialists conduct surveys to identify wetland areas, vegetation types, rare plant populations and ecological communities.
Hydrology and Hydrogeology
Hydrologists collect detailed data on all bodies of water, such as channel geometry, flow rates, temperatures, turbidity and pH levels.
Terrain types, terrain features, geological features and ecosystem types are identified. Preliminary surveys are conducted from the air, followed by detailed studies by ground crews.
With more than 60 years of experience building and operating pipelines, we’ve successfully reclaimed thousands of acres of native rangeland on pipeline rights of way throughout North America.
When pipeline construction is complete, we work closely with environmental experts and landowners to restore the land back to its original state and productivity level. We monitor environmental reclamation for years following construction – our job isn’t done until landowners and regulatory agencies are satisfied.
Ongoing maintenance programs
After the pipeline is in the ground, our ongoing maintenance programs are applied for the life of the facility. Last year we completed over 265,000 regulatory maintenance and inspection tasks on our pipeline network.
In addition to these planned maintenance activities we also conduct:
- Routine aerial surveillance of the pipeline
- Annual testing of the cathodic protection systems
- In-line inspections of the condition of the pipeline and investigative digs
- Upgrades to the pipeline in areas adjacent to population
- Repairs to water crossings and unstable slopes that the pipelines traverse
- Mail educational material to over 700,000 residents along the pipeline right of way
“We follow standard aircraft operating procedures to ensure each pilot essentially flies in the same manner and we use checklists to ensure nothing is missed as we move from one flight phase to another.”
Kurt Neuenschwander, TransCanada chief pilot, Conroe office patrol
The Keystone Pipeline system’s Operational Control Centre (OCC) is staffed twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Trained operators use a remote control computer-based system known as Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) to monitor and control the pipeline system.
Within moments of sensors detecting an abnormality, trained operators can:
- Immediately shut down pump stations along the pipeline
- Close isolation valves near the leak to limit potential impacts
- Dispatch pipeline emergency response personnel to the scene
We use satellite technology that sends data to our monitoring center every five seconds.