Proposed pipeline would lower risk: ATCO

The Alberta Utilities Commission is accepting submissions relating to a proposed natural gas pipeline project just east of Red Deer.

The Alberta Utilities Commission is accepting submissions relating to a proposed natural gas pipeline project just east of Red Deer.

Proposed by ATCO Pipelines, the line would transport sweet natural gas to a distribution station along 39th Street and from there the gas would go to residential customers. The pipeline through largely undeveloped land would replace the current line in use built in 1956 that passes below 30th Avenue.

While there have been no leaks or incidents on the current line it is nearing the end of its operable life, said the proposal’s project manager.

“It’s an old pipeline that’s not in a good location. It runs along 30th Avenue in much closer proximity to houses. Really the big thing is that it’s in a high-consequence area. On older pipes we do see more leaks and integrity concerns. By moving it out of this high consequence area we are significantly lowering that risk,” said Karen Coldham.

Submissions can be made online or in writing to the utilities commission on or before Jan. 31. According to the AUC, those making submissions who are determined “to have rights that may be directly and adversely affected” by the proposed project will be considered to have standing and a public hearing could be held.

ATCO’s initial plan in 2012 was for a 12-inch (323 mm) pipe to supply homes in the Red Deer area. It later determined that an eight-inch (219 mm) pipe would be large enough to meet regional growth demands for the next 40 years.

The eight-km line is proposed to run near an existing power line through mostly undeveloped land 800 metres east of Timberlands to Vanier Woods.

If approval is granted, Coldham said the new line could be operational by mid-2014. The old line would be purged with air, capped and abandoned by late 2015.

For more information, visit www.auc.ab.ca or contact the AUC at 780-643-1055.

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