Just over two years ago – September 3, 2019 to be exact – clearing, the first stage of pipeline construction began on Section 1. Today, Section 1 has leapfrogged in construction with pipeline installation almost complete, including pressure hydrotesting on completed pipe installation and reclamation efforts underway where testing has passed inspection.
“Reclamation begins with final clean-up. Essentially, we replace clay and topsoil that we removed during construction. These materials were stored onsite during construction and now we will replace them and contour the land to its previous shape to re-establish original drainage patterns,” explains Melanie Shandruk, Senior Project Engineer for Sections 1 and 2.
“Our goal is to bring the land as close to its original state as possible.”
When complete, reclamation work will restore the project route back to its pre-construction state.
One third of the 92 km section has already had topsoil replaced on the route and five crews are working to finish the job. While this work is happening, construction crews also clean-up the site by removing construction materials, such as staking, and replacing or repairing any infrastructure affected during work activities, for example, reinstalling sections of fence on farmland.
Once this work is done, the Environment team begins revegetation which may include re-seeding or planting vegetation native to the area.
“Coastal GasLink’s reclamation preparation and planning process began long before the start of construction. Based on pre-construction vegetation information, advice from vegetation experts, and consultation, a plan for reestablishing ecologically suitable species was developed and is being implemented as construction is finished,” says Michelle Heffernan, Coastal GasLink Reclamation Advisor.
Vegetation experts provide recommendations for seed mixes where seed is required to reestablish biodiversity while also minimizing weeds. For grassland and erosion-prone areas, the prime contractor will perform seeding during final clean-up. Following final clean-up, Coastal GasLink will work with local Indigenous contractors to carry out planting of trees and species of ecological and cultural concern, where appropriate, to supplement natural regeneration in forested areas.
“Supplemental planting decisions are made in consultation with local stakeholders and Indigenous groups. We aim to plant species that are ecologically suitable and support land use,” shares Michelle.
Final cleanup of Section 1 will continue into late 2022 with Section 2 following into 2023. This period involves restricting access to the pipeline route that was not open to human activity prior to construction. Once final clean-up is complete, five-years of post-construction monitoring begins which includes assessments of landscape, vegetation, wetlands, access control, and wildlife to ensure reclamation efforts are successful. Additional mitigations will be implemented, as required, based on monitoring results.
Did you know? A recent ten-year pipeline research study highlighted success of land reclamation efforts.
Can’t get enough of construction? Watch TC Energy’s ‘Lifecycle of a pipeline’ video.