In response to Steve Hill's letter to the editor, Aging pipeline is worrisome, in the March 8 edition of the Burnaby NOW, Trans Mountain has comprehensive initiatives that contribute to the continued safe operation of the pipeline, a critical piece of B.C.'s energy infrastructure for nearly 60 years.
Maintaining the pipeline is assured with an integrity management program. Managed by a team of dedicated experts, this includes regular pipeline inspections, maintenance and repair initiatives.
This program also identifies preventive measures to stop hazards from impacting on the integrity of the pipeline.
While construction, quality assurance and quality control standards have improved since the line was constructed, strong installation practices were also in place 60 years ago.
Our testing and inspection practices indicate that the pipe meets today's requirements.
Trans Mountain has found the coating used on the pipeline is excellent and continues to perform exceptionally well. We complete coating assessments every time the pipe is exposed and the vast majority of our assessments indicate that the pipe coating remains in very good condition and poses no threat when undisturbed.
Kinder Morgan also has strict safety practices and procedures around working with the pipe coating to protect our workers and the environment when pipeline maintenance is being performed.
To further help prevent corrosion, Trans Mountain also has an effective cathodic protection system in place.
Trans Mountain uses "smart pigs" - highly technical inspection tools that examine the pipe wall to detect changes in pipeline condition and wall thickness.
Each pipeline segment is internally inspected every five years with tools that accurately map any areas where metal loss may have occurred. These inspection activities allow us to reliably monitor for the presence of any internal or external corrosion. When these or other irregularities are detected that can affect the integrity of the pipe, they are repaired.
We also conduct regular aerial and ground patrols of the pipeline to look for any irregularities or unauthorized activities along the pipeline corridor.
Trans Mountain is regulated by the National Energy Board.
We are regularly audited by the board with a definite focus on integrity. We are constantly being encouraged to strive for continuous improvement and safety, and loss management system elements are now incorporated into the regulations to enforce this as a requirement. It is a relentless pursuit of doing better.
We also participate in several industry initiatives focused on improvements in integrity-related technologies.
The industry is funding millions of dollars annually in research to make the inspection tools better, more reliable and accurate - and it is effective.
The technology available today is very much advanced from the inspection tools available just 10 or 15 years ago.
With a comprehensive integrity management program that includes inspection, repair and the appropriate corrosion prevention program, the life of the pipeline is indefinite.
Safety and protection of the environment are a number 1 priority to safely and efficiently operate the Trans Mountain pipeline.
Hugh Harden is the vice-president of operations and engineering for Kinder Morgan Canada. To read Steve Hill's letter, go to www. burnabynow.com