Evaluation of the Fate and Effects of Pipeline Releases Along the Enbridge Line 3

The Enbridge Mainline System transports crude oil and petroleum products from the hub at Edmonton, Alberta to locations throughout Canada and into the United States. Line 3 makes up a portion of this, running from Edmonton, Alberta to Superior, Wisconsin. RPS was contracted to provide support and modeling services for the Enbridge Line 3 Replacement Program (L3RP), which involved portions of Line 3 between Hardisty, Alberta and Gretna, Manitoba.

Accidental discharges of hydrocarbons were modeled by RPS at four representative locations throughout Saskatchewan and Manitoba. The hypothetical unmitigated oil releases were modeled using the OILMAP Land model system. OILMAP Land contains tools to generate hypothetical release points along a pipeline centerline, calculate the product volume discharged at each point resulting from a full bore rupture break of the line, and quantitatively model the overland and downstream pathways of the releases using site-specific geospatial data and environmental parameters.

The effects of potential releases into riverine and lacustrine environments were modeled using OILMAP Land to determine the overland and downstream fate and transport of released hydrocarbons. In addition, trajectories of released hydrocarbons were analyzed in conjunction with High Consequence Areas (HCA) to identify any known site-specific sensitive receptors that may potentially be affected in the event of a release. The OILMAP Land model was run for combinations of location (4), oil type (2), and seasons (3) based upon river flow rate. The four locations modeled include the South Saskatchewan River, Qu’Appelle River, Oak Lake region, and Souris River. The two oil types include Federated Crude (FC) oil, a proxy for an Alberta light sweet crude and Cold Lake Winter Blend (CLWB), a diluted bitumen product. The modeled seasons include high-flow river conditions typically associated with spring flows and snow melt, average-flow river conditions during the summer and fall, and low-flow river conditions during the winter with likely snow and ice coverage. The effects of snow and ice, which have the potential to influence both trajectory and fate, were modeled using OILMAP Land. Each of the release scenarios were modeled for 24-hours with no emergency response activities (i.e. unmitigated).

RPS worked alongside Stantec Inc. to provide an Ecological and Human Health Risk Assessment (EHHRA). The purpose of this EHHRA is to provide insight into the potential ecological and human health effects that might be expected following various hypothetical crude oil release scenarios during the operation of the L3RP.

The EHHR follows a quantitative and qualitative approach consistent with ecological risk assessments (ERA), human health risk assessment (HHRA), and quantitative trajectory, fate, and effects modeling. The EHHRA is conducted following standard protocols as represented in guidance of the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment and Health Canada, generally involving problem formulation, exposure assessment, hazard (toxicity) assessment, and risk characterization steps, as well as discussion of certainty and confidence.

Enbridge filed the Line 3 Replacement Program (L3RP) regulatory application with the Canadian National Energy Board (NEB) on November 6, 2014. On April 25, 2016, the NEB concluded that the Enbridge Line 3 Replacement Program (Project) is in the Canadian public interest and recommended Project approval to the federal Governor in Council.

RPS is also working on an assessment for the portion of the Enbridge Line 3 Replacement Program in the United States. This separate EHHRA will be reviewed by Federal and State agencies in the United States.

RPS uses its model systems to provide a range of services to industry and government clients, including oil spill risk assessments (OSRP, EIA, NEBA, RA) and expert testimony. Visit our web site to see the full range of services and software solutions provided.

Enbridge Line 3 pipeline route
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