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Warning Letter to the City of Medicine Hat

NEB File:  RDIMS 1087098
Enforcement File: CV1718-409

18 April 2018

Information not available
City of Medicine Hat
City Hall
580 First Street SE
Medicine Hat AB  T1A 8E6

Warning Letter to the City of Medicine Hat

Dear Madam:

The National Energy Board (NEB) has received multiple reports of unauthorized activities being conducted on or around federally regulated pipelines by employees of the City of Medicine Hat or its contractors. These reports have been made to the NEB by both TransCanada Pipelines Limited (TCPL) and Nova Gas Transmission Ltd (NGTL).

Summary of Unauthorized Activities

UX2016-083

On 16 June 2016, TCPL reported an unauthorized activity by the City of Medicine Hat – Water Works Division that had occurred on the TCPL Etzikom Lateral – NPS 10 pipeline right-of-way in Medicine Hat, Alberta on or around 15 June 2016.

Upon review by the NEB staff of the information submitted by parties, the NEB determined that the City of Medicine Hat – Water Works Division, was in non-compliance with the Pipeline Crossing Regulations – Part I, ss.6(b) that were in force at the time of the contraventionFootnote 1.

UX2016-130

On 1 September 2016, TCPL reported an unauthorized activity by the City of Medicine Hat Power Plant Division that had occurred on 1 September 2016 on the TCPL right-of-way/safety zone at the Ross Creek Meter Station in Medicine Hat, Alberta.

Upon review by the NEB staff of the information submitted by parties, the NEB determined that the City of Medicine Hat – Power Plant Division was in non-compliance with the Damage Prevention Regulations – Authorizations (DPR-A), ss.7(1)(a).

UX2016-162

On or around 4 September 2016, TCPL reported an unauthorized activity by Sustainable Trails Ltd (performing work contracted by the City of Medicine Hat Parks Division) that had occurred on or about 4 September 2016 on the TCPL Etzikom Lateral – NPS 10 pipeline right-of-way in Medicine Hat, Alberta.

Upon review by the NEB staff of the information submitted by parties, the NEB determined that the City of Medicine Hat Parks Division was in non-compliance with the DPR-A, ss.10(1)(a).

UX2017-068

On 2 May 2017, TCPL reported an unauthorized activity by Information not available (performing work contracted by the City of Medicine Hat) that had occurred on or about 1  May 2017 within TCPL’s NPS 4 Cousin West Meter Station prescribed area.

Upon review of the information submitted by parties as part of the NEB review, the NEB determined that the City of Medicine Hat was in non-compliance with the DPR-A, ss. 10(1)(a) and s.12.

UX2017-082

On 11 May 2017, NGTL reported an unauthorized activity by the City of Medicine Hat Electrical Department that had occurred on or about 10 May 2017 on the Etzikom NPS 10 Lateral at Kilometer Post 4.74 in Medicine Hat, Alberta.

Upon review of the information submitted by parties as part of the NEB review, the NEB determined that the City of Medicine Hat Electrical Department was in non-compliance with the DPR-A, s.12.

UX2017-123

On 15 June 2017, NGTL reported an unauthorized activity by Information not available (performing sub-contracted by the City of Medicine Hat) that had occurred on 15 June 2017 on TCPL’s NPS 20 Suffield South Lateral right-of-way (ROW) in Medicine Hat, Alberta.

Upon review of the information submitted by parties as part of the NEB review, the NEB determined that the City of Medicine Hat was in non-compliance with the DPR-A, s.12.

UX2017-261

On 20 October 2017, TCPL reported an unauthorized activity by the City of Medicine Hat Electrical Distribution Department that had occurred on or about 18 October 2017 on TCPL’s Suffield South Lateral – NPS 12 Pipeline in Medicine Hat, Alberta.

Upon review of the information submitted by parties as part of the NEB review, the NEB determined that the City of Medicine Hat Electrical Distribution Department was in non-compliance with the DPR-A, s.12.

Summary of Findings

Upon examining the information supplied by the parties as part of our review into these incidents, the NEB determined that the City of Medicine Hat was aware of its obligation as they pertain to performing work around pipelines, yet it repeatedly contravened federal legislation.

More specifically, the NEB has determined that:

  1. The City of Medicine Hat was in non-compliance with subsection 112(1) of the National Energy Board Act (NEB Act) and subsection 6(b) of the PCR (Part I) on one occasion.
  2. The City of Medicine Hat was in non-compliance with subsection 112(1) of the National Energy Board Act (NEB Act) and subsection 7(1)(a) of the DPR-A on one occasion.
  3. The City of Medicine Hat was in non-compliance with subsection 112(1) of the National Energy Board Act (NEB Act) and subsection 10(1)(a) of the DPR-A on two occasions.
  4. The City of Medicine Hat was in non-compliance with subsection 112(1) of the National Energy Board Act (NEB Act) and section 12 of the DPR-A on four occasions.

The City of Medicine Hat’s procedures and processes for working around federally regulated pipelines appear to be adequate, however, they have not been followed on a consistent basis.

On 26 February 2018, the NEB hosted a meeting with City of Medicine Hat staff to discuss these ongoing unauthorized activities. The NEB recognizes and appreciates the efforts being made by the City to prevent future non-compliances to NEB legislation. These efforts include mandatory Code of Practice ground disturbance training for field staff, rolling out a contractor compliance system, and mandating the reporting of all near misses.

Conclusion

This warning is intended to bring this matter to your attention in order for you to take the necessary preventative measures to ensure compliance with the National Energy Board Act and its associated Regulations.

The City of Medicine Hat and municipal officials must ensure that the procedure and processes governing excavation work near federally regulated pipelines are followed, and that those who perform excavation work are informed of safe work practices in accordance with section 112 of the National Energy Board Act and measures set out in the NEB's Damage Prevention Regulations (Authorizations). Please refer to the NEB’s Damage Prevention Guidance for Municipal Operations and Maintenance Activities for further information.

We appreciate your prompt attention to this matter, and for the steps you have recently undertaken to prevent such incidents in the future. Please be advised that this letter will form part of the City of Medicine Hat’s compliance history, and any future reported incidents may result in further enforcement action, including administrative monetary penalties, in accordance with the NEB's enforcement policy and procedures. You can find more information on the Board's compliance and enforcement activities on Compliance and Enforcement.

If you have any questions regarding this review or any related topic, please contact Information not available, by telephone toll-free at 1-800-899-1265 or directly at Information not available, or by email at Information not available@cer-rec.gc.ca.

Yours sincerely,

Original signed by

Information not available
Director
Audit, Enforcement and Investigations
Systems Operations Business Unit

cc.:Information not available, National Energy Board
Information not available, TransCanada Pipelines Ltd.
Information not available, TransCanada Pipelines Ltd.
Information not available, TransCanada Pipelines Ltd.
Information not available, TransCanada Pipelines Ltd.

c.c.: Information not available
Information not available

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