Canada is full of natural beauty. It’s incredible when you think about it, the many different experiences you can have from coast to coast to coast. From walking the rocky shores of Peggy’s Cove to trekking BC’s coast or fishing its rivers, Canada’s environment is something that every one of us values.
That’s exactly why CEPA members work hard to protect it by making safety and the environment their top priority.
And that’s why every effort is made to prevent pipeline incidents from occurring. But, if there is a spill or leak, industry is prepared to respond. Quickly, effectively and efficiently.
All CEPA member companies have an emergency management program that anticipates, prevents, manages and mitigates conditions if there is a pipeline incident. These plans are public, as required by the National Energy Board, and are available on CEPA member company websites.
To help inform those plans, CEPA members came together in 2015 to establish a set of guidelines recommending timelines for companies to follow in responding to an incident. The Response Time Guideline is intended to help companies identify and position people and equipment before an incident occurs, and to implement supporting procedures. This enables them to respond quickly and safely to any incident.
Incident response phases and timeline
These guidelines apply specifically to confirmed emergency events for CEPA member pipelines. After an incident is recognized, the response is divided into four phases:
Phase 1: Pipeline shutdown. When an emergency event has been identified, the pipeline is shut down immediately. This is done remotely by the pipeline’s control room.
Phase 2: Emergency response activities. Typically, within two hours an emergency response system and an incident command system are established. Emergency response activities in this phase may include setting up an emergency response structure and emergency operation centre.
Phase 3: Personnel on site. The company’s first responders arrive on site of the incident within three hours.
Phase 4: Equipment on site. Initial response equipment will be on site no more than six hours after the incident is recognized. On-site response can be achieved with employees, contractors or mutual aid/spill cooperatives. For oil, additional supporting requirements will take no more than 72 hours.
Occasionally, there will be extenuating circumstances that affect arrival times at an emergency site for phases 2 and 4. These include:
While these guidelines are not intended to be a measure of performance during a response, they are an important part of ensuring that pipelines remain the safest and most responsible way to deliver the energy that Canadians use every day.