National Energy Boad puts brakes on Laval pipeline reversal

National Energy Boad puts brakes on Laval pipeline reversal

By Robert Frank

The National Energy Board has delayed the reversal of the flow through Enbridge’s crude oil pipeline that runs through Laval, The Suburban has learned.

The federal regulator is concerned about the safety of the pipeline where it crosses major waterways.

“There are no valves in question,” Calgary-based Enbridge spokesman Graham White told The Suburban in an electronic mail reply.

“It is just the placement of valves and the definition of what constitutes a major water crossing,” he said. “At this point it is too early to even speculate if we will need to install any additional valves.”

Laval offered conditional support for the pipeline reversal project in December.

The most important conditions that the city laid down pertained to watter crossings.

“We want more valves, to better control the volume of petroleum products that would be spilled in the event of a rupture.” Gilles Benoît, who runs the city’s environment department, told The Suburban at that time. “We would also be interested to know if more pressure sensors or flow meters could be added to help react more swiftly to any anomalies.”

“Laval’s drinking water inlets are upstream from where the pipeline crosses the river, so the city’s fresh water supply won’t be directly threatened,” he reassured. “Nonetheless, the pipeline also crosses the Ottawa river further upstream, where it could contaminate Lake of Two Mountains and affect the drinking water supplies of several municipalities, possibly even Laval. Also, there are many fresh water wells in Eastern Laval that supply farms and residences, so we want to ensure that these won’t be contaminated, in the event of a leak.”

Enbridge declined to specify whether the National Energy Board has raised questions about safety where its pipeline enters Laval from Rivière des Mille Îles opposite Terrbonne and leaves via the Rivière des Prairies toward Montreal.

“We are not getting into that level of detail at this time,” he replied.
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Enbridge wants to carry Western crude through Laval to Suncor’s Montreal refinery.
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