Emergency management: Hazard identification, risk assessment and controls, and cleanup and remediation

Hazard and risk management process

Each of Enbridge’s emergency management programs is specifically tailored to address the hazards and risks associated with that business unit’s specific operations. Emergency management programs build on the risk management processes that are applicable to their operations and are embedded in the protection programs. The risk management processes are applied throughout the asset life cycle to make decisions that influence design, construction, operation and decommissioning. Stakeholders have an important role to play throughout the asset life cycle. Input received during stakeholder liaison is considered in assessing hazards and risks.

Enbridge’s hazard and risk management process is integral to ensuring that hazards and risks are identified and managed effectively in order to protect the public, workers, the environment, and the organization. This process encompasses hazard and risk identification, analysis, evaluation, treatment, monitoring and review, and communication and consultation.

When modeling the risk of a pipeline or facility release, Enbridge calculates the likelihood of a release resulting from corrosion, cracking, geohazards, mechanical damage, incorrect operations, and theft and sabotage. The likelihood of each of these hazards is combined with the potential consequences to people, the environment, and business to determine the unmitigated risk. Next, the effectiveness of the prevention, detection and mitigation measures is assessed to determine the mitigated risk of the facility or pipeline.

This assessment requires a large number of inputs which are collected from physical inspections, field level observations, governmental sources, public consultation, and industry expertise. Examples of inputs include:

  • Waterbodies (collected from federal and provincial sources);
  • Overland flow and water dispersion (modeled from elevation data and national hydrography database);
  • Corrosion and cracking features (determined through in-line inspection (ILI) tool runs); and
  • High consequence areas (identified through governmental sources and public consultation).

Through this approach, Enbridge is able to estimate risk for all locations near facilities and along the pipeline system, accounting for changes in pipeline and environmental characteristics, as well as the presence of preventative and mitigative measures. The results of this assessment help to highlight areas of heightened risk and to guide decision making in regards to the implementation of additional treatment or mitigation that may be required.

Summary of hazards and mitigation measures

Enbridge’s risk management approach reduces the probability of incidents and their potential consequences. As with any infrastructure it is not possible to eliminate all risks. To manage potential risks associated with the proximity of people to our infrastructure, Enbridge has protection programs in place that meet or exceed regulatory requirements. We extensively monitor and maintain our infrastructure and we have robust emergency response systems to protect people and the environment and reduce the consequences of an incident.

Our pipelines traverse large distances that include water bodies and watercourses, and so pipeline releases pose risks to water (both ground water and surface water), as well as to fisheries and wetlands. Given the potential consequences of liquid hydrocarbon releases, we address water protection as a priority in our management systems and processes, including our public safety and environmental incident risk treatments. We also address the concerns raised by stakeholders (including customers, local communities, environmental groups, water users, regulators, water management authorities and suppliers) and by Indigenous groups. By working with these individuals and groups to understand their concerns, we can incorporate more effective treatment measures into our project management and operations.

Based on the products that we carry and the geography of our infrastructure, the primary hazards of interest to the emergency management programs are those that could:

  • cause a loss of containment or make it challenging to respond to an event (i.e., natural disaster);
  • endanger the public or employees because of a loss of containment of product;
  • cause environmental harm, particularly in a sensitive area;
  • impact our operating assets; or
  • impact our reputation.

The top operational risks that our emergency management programs must consider, include:

  • release and ignition of NGL in a populated area;
  • release of crude oil into a waterbody or a high consequence area; or
  • release and ignition of gas in a populated area or near a critical facility.

In general, the risk assessment process, including development of treatment measures, involves:

  • identifying sources of risk;
  • examining prevention elements (e.g., smart pigs, cathodic protection, participation in local “one-call” organizations, ground disturbance, facility integrity programs);
  • examining detection elements (e.g., supervisory control and data acquisition);
  • examining mitigating elements (e.g., control valves and their locations, emergency control room procedures, and plant control systems);
  • calculating potential release volumes;
  • consideration of stakeholder input received through liaison activities;
  • determining where the product could go if a loss of containment occurs;
    • for liquids, this includes modelling the flow of product via spray, overland and in water.
    • for gas, this generally includes calculating distances from a specific pipeline or facility based on scientifically predicted maximum value, modeled over a large range of meteorological conditions, using maximum expected volumes and the specific component of concern (i.e. lower explosive limit).
  • identifying the associated high consequence and sensitive areas that could be impacted, for example:
    • environmentally sensitive areas;
    • drinking water (drinking water wellhead protection areas and water intakes);
    • commercially navigable waterways;
    • high population areas;
    • other population areas (i.e., schools, medical facilities); and
    • areas of importance to Indigenous communities.
  • defining planning zones based on the above information;
    • the planning zone is a priority area surrounding the facility or pipeline where immediate response actions are required in the event of an emergency.
  • collecting and maintaining contact information from stakeholders near our assets; and
  • assessing and arranging for equipment, contract resources and response procedures to protect the identified sensitivities and remedy the situation.

Find out how we . . .


We've designed our systems and trained our people to be on the lookout for trouble, and to spot it right away.

Emergency preparedness

The above risk assessments and applicable regulations help define the:

  • location of control points, evacuation routes, traffic control points;
  • appropriate types and amounts of response equipment;
  • rationale for location of equipment;
  • level of contracting and mutual aid agreements (such as the Canadian Gas Mutual Aid Assistance Agreement); and
  • exercise locations.

Decision-making processes for response strategies, clean-up and remediation are discussed in the individual emergency response plans.

Emergency preparedness planning standards

Each of the emergency response plans is based on planning standards which may be set by regulations and industry guidelines, or influenced by the risk assessment process. The planning standards outline the desired outcomes on which we build our emergency programs. Examples of applicable planning standards are: response time, oil containment and recovery capacities. We use planning standards during pre-planning to pre-identify and appropriately pre-position resources (people and equipment) before an incident occurs. Response times may vary, due to remote access and extreme road and weather conditions.

In terms of oil spill response equipment (which is applicable to liquids releases) Enbridge maintains its own equipment and is also involved in equipment cooperatives and mutual aid agreements. Equipment lists for each area of operation are included within the individual emergency response plans. Enbridge’s internal resources handle the initial stages of a response at a local level and may, depending on the incident, mobilize additional resources, if necessary, to effectively respond to an incident.

Click on the links below to read more about the key elements that Enbridge employs to ensure its stakeholders and the environment are protected: