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TransCanada – CSR – Environment: TransCanada’s GTN natural gas pipeline crosses the Pend Oreille River in Idaho. We worked to safely and successfully re-establish river bed support under our pipeline. TransCanada – CSR – Environment: TransCanada’s GTN natural gas pipeline crosses the Pend Oreille River in Idaho. We worked to safely and successfully re-establish river bed support under our pipeline.

MINIMIZING OUR FOOTPRINT | Environment

Water Watercourse Crossings

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Information is gathered about all watercourses crossed by our projects. The information gathered during these surveys, in combination with provincial, state and federal guidelines and input from engagement activities, is used to determine the most appropriate method of installing a pipeline at a watercourse crossing.

Given the sensitivity of the aquatic environment, prescriptive mitigation is put in place to minimize the impact of construction and operations activities. A key mitigation is the selection of an appropriate pipeline installation method for the watercourse crossing. The most appropriate technique for each watercourse crossing is chosen according to a defined set of criteria, including the presence of sensitive and critical fish habitat, with the objective of achieving no net loss of fish habitat. Disruption of sensitive life stages (i.e., spawning, fry emergence) may be avoided by timing construction outside of any restricted activity periods.

Other information gathered to help develop site-specific mitigation, aid in the protection of sensitive areas and minimize erosion and sedimentation includes:

  • Riparian habitat quantity, quality and restorative ability
  • Stream morphology, discharge and velocity
  • Terrain stability

Protection of these sensitive areas is also accomplished by limiting clearing and grading, adjusting the width of the right of way and through habitat reclamation programs.

Watercourse crossing methods are industry-proven construction techniques that are typically grouped into three categories:

  • Trenchless – these methods do not involve in-stream work to install the pipe. Horizontal directional drilling is a common trenchless method.
  • Isolated crossing – using either a flume or dam and pump system, the water is diverted over or around the excavation.
  • Open cut – generally used when a watercourse is dry or frozen to the bottom, has limited fisheries value or as a contingency crossing method for large river crossings.

TransCanada takes extra precaution around bodies of water for our oil pipelines, installing thicker walled, reinforced steel pipe and shut-off valves on both sides of the waterway that can isolate an incident area within minutes to limit the impact of a potential spill.

As part of TransCanada’s post-construction reclamation and monitoring program, a variety of assessments are conducted to evaluate factors such as terrain stability, soil productivity, erosion sediment controls and riparian vegetation to ensure the re-establishment of equivalent land capability after construction.