Land Management

Material Topics Environment & Land Management

2014 Performance

Biodiversity Conservation and Land Management, Water Use and Management, Waste Management, Air Emissions of Ozone-Depleting Substances

Biodiversity Conservation and Land Management

Project Planning and Construction - We incorporate sound environmental construction techniques into all of our new projects and provide related training and guidelines to employees and contractors. Our work in this area is extremely important as we are now engaged in the largest expansion in our history.

Before construction begins, we conduct detailed environmental analyses, not only to comply with regulations, but also to meet our own requirements. As part of this process, we analyze various routing alternatives to determine whether they would avoid, minimize or mitigate our impacts to natural resources, including environmentally sensitive areas; reduce or eliminate engineering and constructability concerns; and avoid or minimize conflicts with existing or proposed residential and agricultural lands. We try to minimize the pipeline length to the extent practicable so as to minimize its environmental impacts. Whenever possible, we also try to build in existing rights-of-way.

We evaluate wetlands and watercourse crossings on a case-by-case basis to minimize impacts to wetlands, rivers and streams. When we must cross them, we endeavor to restore these areas to their previous states and use a variety of measures to minimize and mitigate our impacts.

Protecting Sensitive Habitats - Before we build a pipeline, we survey its entire route to identify wetlands, water bodies and plant and animal populations. We use the survey results to determine areas that will require alternative construction techniques, timing restrictions (i.e. to minimize impacts during breeding or spawning seasons for certain sensitive species), or route variations (to minimize or avoid impacts to sensitive plant species). We use this information to determine whether to adjust routes.

We develop situation-specific plans to minimize our impacts on sensitive species when we must traverse their habitat. These plans include restricting our maintenance activities and implementing special precautions. We have put such plans in place to protect boreal caribou populations in the Northwest Territories and Alberta, the Karner blue butterfly in Wisconsin, and Redside Dace (an endangered species of ray-finned fish) in Ontario.

Regulators also apply stringent conditions to our mitigation efforts when we must traverse certain areas. For example, in the U.S., regulators have mandated how we maintain our rights-of-way for our pipelines that traverse National Forests.

Some of our pipelines are located in lakes and navigable waterways and within areas of high biodiversity. For those areas, we minimize our impacts and comply with all regulations.

Our Gas Distribution business segment (GD) historically has not had a significant impact on the biodiversity of protected areas or areas with high biodiversity. The majority of GD’s pipelines are installed on existing road rights-of-way in previously disturbed soil that are not typically areas of high biodiversity. However, GD does implement environmental screening or environmental assessment (depending on project scope) to identify any features that may be impacted by construction or maintenance activities, and puts in place mitigation measures to protect them. For example, GD protects environmentally sensitive areas using directional drilling or other mitigation techniques. In 2014, GD did not conduct any activities in protected areas or areas of high biodiversity; and, apart from an easement on the western edge of Springwater Provincial Park near Midhurst, Ontario, GD does not have any pipe installed in environmentally sensitive areas.

Mapping Pipelines for Species at Risk - In Canada, all of our business segments comply with provincial requirements, and with the Species at Risk Act (SARA), which aims to protect flora and fauna and conserve biological diversity.

Our Liquids Pipelines business segment (LP) mapped its Canadian Mainline system in 2004, using digital mapping technology to identify areas along parts of its right-of-way where there may be species-at-risk habitat. LP now regularly updates this information to ensure it is working with the most accurate and effective data.

GD identifies environmentally sensitive areas, such as wetlands or watercourses, where there may be species-at-risk through its environmental screening and assessment process. GD then consults with regulatory agencies and implements all required mitigation measures prior to conducting construction or maintenance activities.

Managing Vegetation - When managing vegetation at our facilities and on our pipeline rights-of-way, we use the most environmentally appropriate methods of keeping our rights-of-way clear for inspection. In conducting this work, we take into account the visible results and perceived impacts on adjacent landowners and the general public.

Protecting Soils and Waterways - We are committed to protecting the environmental integrity of soils and waterways in and around our operations. For example, we have a post-reclamation monitoring program to ensure that we restore all of our integrity dig sites to their pre-excavation condition, as determined by third-party inspectors.

In some cases, we use horizontal directional drilling when crossing beneath sensitive watercourses and, before doing so, always obtain permits from the required authorities and government agencies. We further protect watercourses through regular pipe inspections.

Neutral Footprint Commitments - At the beginning of 2009, we committed to reducing the environmental impacts of our pipeline expansion projects within five years of their occurrence by:

  • Planting a tree for every tree we removed
  • Helping to conserve a hectare/ acre of natural habitat for every hectare/ acre we permanently altered
  • Generating a kilowatt hour of renewable energy for every additional kilowatt hour of conventional electricity used in our Liquid Pipelines business segment's (LP) operations over 2008 levels.

Note that, under our commitment related to renewable energy generation, we did not commit to using the renewable energy that we generate to meet LP's electricity needs. Rather we committed to ensuring that the amount of renewable energy we generate would equal the amount of conventional required to power LP's growth since 2009. We structured our commitment in this way because we do not use the renewable energy that we generate but, rather, sell it to the grid through power purchase agreements that we have with utilities and other third parties.

By the end of 2014, we had exceeded – our "tree for tree" and "acre for acre" commitments. Between January 2009 and December 2014, we had:

  • Removed 725,155 trees and planted 745,7721,2
  • Disturbed 2,129 acres and conserved 45,5751'2

Also, in 2014, LP consumed 1,423 GWh of conventional electricity more than it did in 2008 (due to its growth since the beginning of 2009), while we generated 2,796 GWh of renewable energy in 2014. 1,2

In 2014 we consulted with internal and external stakeholders regarding the future of our Neutral Footprint commitments and, in 2015, will be updating them to address the feedback we received. We expect that the updated version of the commitments will incorporate more opportunities for engagement with our rights-of-way communities on environmental projects and priorities.

    1 In 2014, we revised our reporting methodology for our Neutral Footprint commitments. Whereas we had been previously reporting forecasted amounts, the amounts reported above are actuals. This difference in reporting methodology accounts for the variances between previously reported amounts and the amounts reported here.

    2 The amounts reported here represent the information we had received from our business segments as at February 1, 2015. We will report any variances in future CSR reports.

Water Use and Management

Across all of our operations, we strive to meet or exceed all regulatory requirements, including those pertaining to water withdrawal and disposal.

Although we do not use water to transport liquid hydrocarbons or natural gas, we do occasionally use water to hydrostatically test the integrity of our new or existing pipelines and storage tanks.

Hydrostatic testing involves filling a section of the pipeline with water – generally withdrawn locally from the environment, from municipal sources, or delivered on-site – and pressurizing that section to confirm its integrity. When we conduct these tests, we follow company policy and regulatory standards.

When we use water to hydrotest existing pipelines or facilities, we analyze and treat our test water before returning it to the environment. All of the water that we return to the environment meets discharge criteria established by relevant regulatory agencies.

We engage specialized waste disposers to remove any water that is not found to be suitable for discharge to the environment, and to dispose of it in accordance with applicable regulations.

Hydrostatic Testing - In 2014:

  • Our Major Projects business unit (MP) in Canada used approximately 389 megalitres of water for hydrostatic testing newly constructed pipelines, compared with approximately 195 megalitres in 2013. More new projects reached completion in 2014 than in 2013, hence the year-over-year increase.

    Regarding release and removal in 2014, MP in Canada returned approximately 387.5 megalitres of the water used for hydrostatic testing to the environment and disposed of approximately 1.5 megalitres through waste disposers. These amounts compare with approximately 192 and three megalitres, respectively, in 2013. Before returning the water, MP verified that it was free of contaminants. MP also conducted this work in a manner that complied with all appropriate regulatory jurisdictions.

  • MP in the U.S. used approximately 711 megalitres of water for the purposes of hydrostatic testing newly constructed pipelines, compared with approximately 747 megalitres in 2013. In both years, MP returned all of the water it used the environment, either directly or through waste disposers.
  • LP Canada used approximately 17 megalitres of water from municipal or natural sources for hydrostatic testing, compared with approximately 1.5 megalitres in 2013.

    Regarding release and removal in 2014, LP in Canada returned approximately 16.8 megalitres or 97 per cent of the water used for hydrostatic testing to the environment. The remainder was disposed of through waste disposers.

  • LP U.S. did not conduct any hydrostatic testing in 2014. In 2013, LP in the U.S. used approximately 110.9 megalitres of water from municipal or natural sources for hydrostatic testing.

    Regarding release and removal in 2013, LP in the U.S. returned approximately 110.5 megalitres or 99 per cent of the water used for hydrostatic testing to the environment (it having met all necessary water quality criteria). The remainder was disposed of through waste disposers.

  • GD used approximately 5.6 megalitres of municipally treated water for the purposes of hydrostatic testing newly constructed pipelines, compared with 5.9 megalitres in 2013. 

  • GPP used approximately 2.5 megalitres of water from municipal or natural sources for hydrostatic testing.

Groundwater - In 2014, LP continued its system-wide groundwater monitoring program. This program provides regular monitoring of LP facilities to proactively identify potential impacts to groundwater, enabling us to identify potential issues and maintain compliance with regulatory requirements where they exist.

LP also continued its efforts to manage groundwater contamination associated with our Hardisty Caverns. Prior to our acquisition of the facility, the clay liner used to contain the brine in cavern operations had leaked. LP now operates a groundwater recovery well system to extract the contaminated groundwater either for reuse in the brine pond as makeup water, or for disposal in an on-site disposal well. The recovery wells serve two purposes: first, to slowly clean the groundwater by removing the contaminated water; and second, to hydraulically contain the site, stopping further migration of the brine contamination. In 2013, LP conducted an engineering assessment of the existing groundwater remediation system to identify ways to enhance contaminated groundwater recovery. In 2014, LP implemented the recommendations resulting from the assessment.

In 2014, LP continued operating a groundwater remediation system at its Metiskow, Alberta station. This system treats groundwater contamination identified at the site. It consists of groundwater recovery, treatment and reinjection systems that contain and treat groundwater contamination.

LP also continued to operate a soil vapour extraction/air sparging system at the site of a February 2007 third-party pipeline strike near Exeland, Wisconsin. This system is treating residual hydrocarbons and preventing migration to a local creek, thereby reducing groundwater impacts.

Throughout 2014, LP continued operating belt skimmers at our North Cass Lake, Minnesota pumping station to recover free product that LP had discovered in 2010 and that was the result of a leaking flange. Thanks to LP’s recovery efforts, it has maintained a stable groundwater contamination plume, and has protected two nearby residential potable wells and the on-site well.

GPP does not significantly affect any water bodies or related habitats through discharges of water or runoff. In addition, all of the water-related processes that GPP uses are closed loop systems, resulting in minimal water loss.

For LP Canada and LP U.S., storm water makes up the majority of the facility water releases. This water is discharged to the environment in a controlled manner and does not significantly impact any water bodies.

Rainwater Harvesting - GD has incorporated fixtures and devices that reduce its water requirements in newly designed office buildings. GD’s Technology and Operations Centre (TOC) building in Markham, Ontario, captures rainwater from the roof and reuses it for landscape irrigation and cooling-tower requirements. The TOC’s innovative streetscape training centre, which simulates an urban community, also captures and retains rain water through a system of pervious pavers.

Waste Management

Across all of our operations, we strive to meet or exceed all regulatory requirements, including those pertaining to waste.

The bulk of our waste comprises recyclable materials such as paper, scrap metals, packaging materials and construction-related materials. The remainder of our waste is made up of non-hazardous substances such as spent abrasive blast media, oily sorbents and soil.

We make every effort to reduce and minimize our waste volumes, regardless of hazard classification, through measurement and management programs at our various facilities. We also try to find beneficial ways to reuse or recycle waste by-products. For example, GPP recycles used lube oil from its compressor engines, spent activated carbon catalyst used in gas treatment, and spent catalytic converter catalyst used to control compressor emissions.

With regard to tracking and reporting on our waste management practices, at present, we do this in some, but not all, regulatory jurisdictions. For example:

Through the development of waste management tracking and training programs, we are helping employees not only meet regulations, but more effectively recover waste. For example, LP U.S. provides employees across all of its operating areas site-specific guidance to help ensure sound waste management handling and disposal.

In Ontario, GD recovers and recycles waste polyethylene pipe.

Hazardous and Non-Hazardous Waste by Weight and Disposal Method - 2014 is the first year for which we are reporting the estimated total weight of hazardous and non-hazardous waste – by disposal method – of our GD business segment.

Gas Distribution

Hazardous Waste 2014 2013
(kg1) (kg1)
Recycled 71,227 62,710
Recovered 1,355 880
Incinerated 29,704 32,142
Deep-well injection 10,410 6,855
To landfill 1,991,514 452,077
On-site storage 104,384 0
Water treatment 1,118,636 922,841
Physical treatment 21,690 -
Stabilization 330,460 -
Total 3,679,380 1,477,505
Non-Hazardous Waste 2014 2013
(kg1) (kg1)
Recycled 0 1,888
Recovered 0 0
Incinerated 1,550 0
Deep-well injection 0 0
To landfill 1,209,469 7,683,185
On-site storage 0 0
Water treatment 378,107 330,240
Landfill cover and capping 5,071,550 3,102,680
Total 6,660,676 11,117,993
  1. assumed average density: 1 litre = 1 kg

Note: The waste disposal method was derived from information provided by GD’s waste contractors. The year-over-year increase in hazardous waste in 2014 is due to an increase in work activities and the fact that GD replaced underground storage tanks at two locations. We did not transport any waste across international borders.

Air Emissions Management

NOx, SOx and Other Significant Air Emissions- The major air emissions that our facilities release include carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Other contaminants that they release, but in much smaller quantities, include sulphur dioxide (SO2), hydrogen sulphide (H2S), particulate matter and hazardous air pollutants such as hexane.

We work to keep air emissions from our operations below regulated limits. In some cases, we have exceeded regulatory requirements and have installed environmentally friendly technologies in our facilities that reduce air contaminant emissions.

We base our criteria air contaminant (CAC) emissions estimates on published emission factors applied to fuel use by equipment type. In the case of non-combustion sources, we estimate CAC emissions using modeling programs such as the U.S. EPA’s TANKS program. We also use some site- or equipment-specific emissions factors.

Reporting Criteria Air Contaminants - Criteria air contaminants (CACs) are a group of common air pollutants released through incineration, industrial production, fuel combustion and transportation vehicles. We have established management programs that define our roles, responsibilities and timelines for reporting our CAC emissions to various government agencies in Canada and the U.S.

In Canada, LP and GD track and report annual CAC emissions under the National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI). The CACs covered under the regulation include NOx, SO2, VOCs, carbon monoxide and particulate matter. In the U.S., both LP and GPP monitor and report on CAC emissions in compliance with state and federal regulations.

Liquids Pipelines – Within LP’s operations, the main source of VOC emissions is losses from storage tanks, while the main source of NOx emissions is combustion equipment.

Air emissions levels vary from year to year depending on a number of factors, including throughput of products at terminals, product composition, maintenance activities such as tank cleaning, implementation of pollution prevention projects and the amounts of fuel used in combustion equipment.

The tables below summarize LP’s CAC information reported in its jurisdictions:

Liquids Pipelines Canada
(tonnes) 2013 2012 2011
NOx (as NO2) 125 120 77
VOCs 2,534 3,592 3,303
PM2.51 62 61 60
PM101 565 564 563
TPM1 2,179 2,179 2,178
  1. The majority of particulate matter (PM 2.5, PM 10 and TPM) that LP reported under the NPRI program is due to road dust. Much smaller quantities of particulate matter are from stationary combustion sources.
Liquids Pipelines U.S.
(tonnes) 2013 2012 2011
NOx 7 <1 2
VOCs 675 638 663
PM2.5 1 <1 <1
PM10 1 <1 <1
TPM 1 <1 <1
CO 11 <1 1

LP, along with other industry partners, established an ambient air monitoring network to monitor the air quality in and around its tank farm at Hardisty, Alberta. The stations collect and monitor the air quality both continuously and on the National Air Pollution Surveillance schedule. In addition to the air monitoring stations, LP conducts semi-annual head-space air sampling on each storage tank to ensure emission-control devices are functioning.

LP is also a member of the Strathcona Industrial Association (SIA), which owns and operates an air monitoring network in Edmonton and Strathcona County, Alberta. The stations continuously monitor the air quality around LP’s Edmonton Terminal.

LP has a rigorous maintenance program in place that includes regular inspections of emission control devices, and repair or replacement of them to ensure they meet regulatory criteria.

Gas Pipelines & Processing - GPP is continually looking for new ways to upgrade its gas facilities and pipelines. For example, it now uses acid gas injection technology to compress acid gas, primarily hydrogen sulfide and carbon dioxide, and to inject it into suitable underground reservoirs, thereby preventing emissions.

In 2013, GPP reported the following criteria pollutant emissions:

Gas Pipelines & Processing (tonnes) 2013 2012 2011
CO 1,783 1,926 1,816
NOx 2,766 2,795 3,094
VOCs 1,177 1,647 1,405
SO2 412 540 311

Gas Distribution – In Canada, GD reports annual criteria air contaminant emissions under the National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI). GD calculates emissions using emission factors or site/equipment-specific data. The emissions that GD reports to NPRI depend on which facilities are above the reporting thresholds for each reportable substance. As such, they fluctuate from year to year.

In 2013, GD reported only one facility to NPRI because the other facility that normally would have triggered reporting in 2012 was out-of-service for most of 2013. Because the second facility was out-of-service, GD’s overall CO and NOx emissions are below last year’s emissions. The VOC emissions increased due to the higher throughput at the facility that did report to NPRI. In addition to the air contaminants reported below, in 2013, one underground storage compressor station reported emissions of 0.67 tonnes of PM.

Gas Pipelines & Processing (tonnes) 2013 2012 2011
CO 72 90 152
NO2 66 110 323
VOCs 27 16 22

Management of Ozone-Depleting Substances

This GRI indicator, which is relevant for organizations that produce or use Ozone-Depleting Substances (ODS) in their processes, products and services, covers the production, import and export of ODS covered in the Montreal Protocol. Because we do not use ODS in our processes, products or services, it does not generally apply to our business.


Gas Distribution (GD) has the largest natural gas vehicle fleet in Canada

Over the last decade or so, GD has converted 648 of its 853 fleet vehicles to run on natural gas. The majority of these vehicles run on both natural gas and gasoline, but some of them – mostly medium-duty trucks, which are normally diesel-fuelled – run only on natural gas. Through this initiative alone, GD has reduced its GHG emissions by more than 400 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per year.

GD has also reduced its fleet size by standardizing vehicle designs and building in versatility. For example, It has redesigned some of its trucks such that one truck can now perform three functions. In this way, only one truck is needed, whereas, as the past, three were needed.

GD has also recently installed a hybrid-power system that enables work trucks to operate AC and DC power tools and equipment from their batteries when their engines are not running. This system reduces fuel consumption and GHG emissions, along with vehicle idling, noise, and wear and tear.

Impact Mitigation

While Enbridge as a whole is involved with a number of initiatives aimed at mitigating the impacts that our business has on the environment, our Northern Gateway Project (NGP) provides an illustrative example of how world-class standards for safety and environmental protection are embedded into a project. These include:

A Marine Mammal Protection Plan

This plan includes rigorous standards that no other operator has ever adopted. It includes:

  • Mandated vessel speeds. Normal vessel speeds in area are six to 21 knots. Under the plan, NGP would reduce the speeds of associated vessels to 10 to 12 knots, and further reduce them to eight to 10 knots in core humpback whale areas (seasonally). Reducing speeds would reduce both the chances of collision with marine mammals and underwater noise, a main cause of behavioural disturbances in marine mammals.
  • Long-term marine monitoring and research. The research would include a dedicated whale-spotting vessel, remote detection technology, and a regional assessment program.
  • A cooperative regional approach to limiting the effects of vessels on marine mammals.

A Fisheries Liaison Committee

This committee would facilitate effective communication among all fishers. It would provide a forum for its members to identify and resolve potential conflicts, and would facilitate proactive management and mitigation strategies. Committee members could include: coastal First Nations; fishery representatives; government agency representatives; NGP representatives; other affected parties, such as shippers and vessel operators.

Other Initiatives

Some other initiatives that NGP is designing for the project include, but are not limited to, the following plans and programs:

  • A purpose-designed tug escort program
  • An erosion and sediment control plan
  • A watercourse crossing buffer zone width and riparian area management plan
  • A waste rock management plan
  • Acid rock management 
  • A water quality and substrate composition monitoring plan
  • A watercourse reclamation plan
  • A vegetation protection and management plan
  • A wildlife protection and management plan
  • A freshwater aquatic resource and habitat protection and management plan
  • A marine aquatic resource and habitat protection and management plan

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Total Environmental Protection Expenditures and Investments

We spend millions of dollars each year on activities associated with environmental protection and management. We perform most of these activities – environmental impact assessments, and emissions monitoring, management and reporting, for example – to comply with regulatory requirements. We perform some of these activities – tree planting and habitat conservation, for example – voluntarily.

A partial list of the environmental protection and management activities that we undertake is as follows:

  • Aquatic assessments
  • Contaminated site management
  • Emissions monitoring, management and reporting
  • Environmental health checks and internal reviews
  • Environmental 
  • Environmental planning and performance management
  • Environmental training for staff and contractors
  • Groundwater monitoring
  • Habitat conservation and mitigation
  • Risk identification and assessment
  • Site containment  and drainage
  • Sponsorship of environmental organizations
  • Tree planting
  • Waste management (minimization, reuse, recycling)

We do not currently have the processes in place to track the exact amounts of our expenditures and investments in these areas.