Atco to replace aging gas pipelines, move away from populated areas

New pipeline will be moved to transportation utility corridors that surround Edmonton and Calgary.

EDMONTON – The president of Atco Pipelines says the company has decided to replace aging natural gas pipelines that are dangerously close to schools, homes and businesses in Edmonton and Calgary.

Brian Hahn says the project should be completed within five years.

Brendan Dolan, senior vice-president, says the high-pressure lines were built on the outskirts of the cities 50 years ago but urban growth has meant they are now in densely populated areas.

He says the project will see them moved to the transportation utility corridors that surround both cities.

Dolan says it’s a significant project for Atco as it will require the construction of 105 kilometres of new pipeline.

But Hahn says the safety of the communities is the company’s priority.

“There have been incidents in other parts of North America where there have been pipelines ruptured that have caused serious property damage, injuries and in some cases fatalities,” says Dolan.

Hahn says the replacement system will include “modern coatings to prevent corrosion, better welding practices, better construction and inspection practices that are more robust.”

He says that will include “inline inspection tools that will actually allow us to actually put a tool down the pipeline while it is still in operation to get a health check on the pipeline while it is operating through its life cycle.”

Atco must now apply for permits for the project, a process that includes public consultations.

©The Canadian Press