Compliance Verification Activity Report 1617-338 – Westcoast Energy Inc., carrying on business as Spectra Energy Transmission

Type of Compliance Verification Activity: Field Inspection

Activity #: 1617-338
Activity start: 2016-04-01
Activity End: 2016-04-03

Related Activity Numbers:

Inspection Officer Number(s): 2558, 2565

Incident #: 2015-135
Landowner Complaint File #:

Company: Westcoast Energy Inc., carrying on business as Spectra Energy Transmission (Spectra)

Facility Name(s): Fort Nelson Gas Plant

Province(s): : British Columbia

Theme(s): Environmental Protection

Compliance Tools Used: Corrected in field (Corrected Non-Compliance) (1)
Notice of Non-Compliance (NNC) (4)

Purpose

This activity was undertaken to verify compliance with the following regulatory requirements.

 X  NEB Act

    Onshore Pipeline Regulations

    CSA Standard Z662 Oil and Gas Pipeline Systems

    Other:

    Electricity Regulations

 X  Processing Plant Regulations

    Pipeline Crossing Regulations Part I

    Pipeline Crossing Regulations Part II

Regulatory Instrument

GC-23

Observations & Discussion

Observations & Discussion
Date visited Location Theme Compliance Confirmed
2016-04-01 Sulphur Plant area and culvert system draining to the Turnaround Pond Environmental Protection No
Observations

An approximately 0.5 x 0.5 x 0.2 m piece of solid sulphur was observed at the entrance to a culvert near the Train 10 Converter at the Sulphur plant. Spectra personnel discussed over the course of the inspection that the sulphur was the result of an incident at the sulphur plant in November 2015. The incident (INC2015-135) resulted in the release of approximately 105 Tonnes of liquid (molten) sulphur. Some of that sulphur flowed into the on-site culvert system used to discharge untreated surface water runoff off-site via the pond at the turnaround (Turnaround Pond). Sulphur solidified in the culverts, and was visible when looking into caissons to the northwest of the sulphur plant. In discussions with Spectra, NEB inspectors found that Spectra had identified there to be potential hazards to surface water runoff associated with the released sulphur in the culvert system and spill area. Spectra took steps to prevent this from occurring including blocking a culvert with clay to prevent uncontrolled discharge from the impacted culvert to the Turnaround Pond. Pumps and hoses are being used to move water from vertical caissons to the Turnaround Pond. In response to the incident, Spectra had developed the “FNGP Surface Water Sampling & Release Protocol” intended to achieve the following:
1) contain potentially affected runoff in the Turnaround Pond
2) sample contained water to determine if release criteria were being met
3) if sampling demonstrated that criteria were met, open valve and release water
4) if criteria were not met, pump water to closed effluent system for treatment

Spectra provided results of field sampling that indicated water that was sampled from various sampling points in this area had not exceeded the environmental criteria. However, sampling of runoff water appeared to be occurring inconsistently, including from different locations and while water was discharging, rather than prior to discharge.

Inspectors observed that water was discharging upstream and around the valve at the Turnaround Pond and that the pond could not contain water. Spectra representatives later confirmed that the Turnaround Pond was not designed to contain water, for example it was not lined and the culvert at the outlet is perforated. Therefore, the sampling protocol developed did not reflect the conditions of the site. The sampling method and site conditions suggest that Spectra would have limited ability to stop a release if sampling indicated the water did not meet environmental criteria, and affected Spectra’s ability to demonstrate that all water discharged met the required criteria.

Spectra took immediate action while NEB Inspectors were on site to mitigate the potential hazard of discharging surface water outside of environmental criteria, including improving the isolation of the culvert systems; improving and clarifying its sampling and release protocol; and identifying potential contingency measures. However, additional corrective actions, or documentation of actions discussed on site is required.

Does this observation specifically reference the Canada Labour Code or its regulations? No
Observations & Discussion
Date visited Location Theme Compliance Confirmed
2016-04-02 Various Sulphur Waste Storage bins around Fort Nelson Gas Plant Environmental Protection No
Observations
Metal bins containing solid sulphur were not closed or protected from precipitation in several areas of the plant site site, including: one bin near Train 11 Acid Gas Heater; three bins in upper laydown area (south side of plant); and, one bin containing sulphur and sulphur contaminated soil north of hazardous waste storage area.

Spectra stated that the source of the sulphur stored in the bins was cleanup from the November 2015 release. The open bins allow precipitation to contact sulphur. The bins did not appear to be containing water (holes in bins were observed, or soils around culverts were wet), such that leakage from the bins could present a potential environmental hazard. The upper laydown area appears to drain towards an uncontrolled culvert that discharges to the east.

Spectra representatives indicated that it may not be possible to remove the bins from site for disposal immediately due to the current soft ground conditions, but that it could cover the bins to reduce the potential of water contacting the bins.

Spectra provided photographic evidence on Monday 4-Apr-2016 and Tuesday 5-Apr-2016 demonstrating that the lids on bins had been closed where possible and tarps were installed on bins without lids, which correct this non-compliance. However, inspectors note that these temporary storage bins do not seem consistent with Spectra’s long term sulphur storage bins, and have been in place since cleanup of the incident. Inspectors would like to emphasize Spectra’s commitment to remove these bins as soon as reasonably practicable.
Does this observation specifically reference the Canada Labour Code or its regulations? No
Observations & Discussion
Date visited Location Theme Compliance Confirmed
2016-04-02 Various Mixed Waste Storage areas around Fort Nelson Gas Plant Environmental Protection No
Observations
Bins containing different types of waste, including sulphur, cardboard, wood, garbage and batteries, were located in several areas across the plant site. Waste bins were not labeled at the following locations: near train 11 acid gas heater; upper laydown area (south); bone yard area (east); and, hazardous waste storage area (north).

Spectra provided photographs demonstrating labels had been placed on the bins containing sulphur on 5-Apr-2015, but has not provided photos demonstrating that labels have been placed on the bins containing other waste.
Does this observation specifically reference the Canada Labour Code or its regulations? No
Observations & Discussion
Date visited Location Theme Compliance Confirmed
2016-04-02 Various locations around Fort Nelson Gas Plant Environmental Protection No
Observations
Evidence of sulphur spills (i.e. yellow staining or pieces of solid sulphur) was observed on the ground in several areas around the Fort Nelson Gas Plant. Areas with sulphur visible on the ground or on infrastructure include: Train 10 converter, Train 12 Reactors, support pillar at D3 valve, uncontrolled drainage southeast side of plant. Some of the spills may be related to the November 2015 release. while Spectra stated the sulphur on the support pillar was possibly from approximately three years ago when the valve was changed. Spectra stated there was no ongoing leak at that location.

Spectra discussed that between now and June is generally the time when Spectra focuses on cleaning up small spills.
Does this observation specifically reference the Canada Labour Code or its regulations? No
Observations & Discussion
Date visited Location Theme Compliance Confirmed
2016-04-02 Fort Nelson Gas Plant Surface Water Mangement Environmental Protection No
Observations
As part of the inspection, Inspectors requested and reviewed the following documentation:
– FNGP Surface Water Sampling and Release Protocol (no date)
– Spectra Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for Surface Water Runoff Management – Reference No. CAN-WEST-EM-EFF-SOP-SURF-02, Revision Date 20 April 2015
– FNGP Surface Water Sampling Program (no date).

Inspectors walked the west, south and east sides of the perimeter of the plant site, observing sampling locations identified in the “FNGP Surface Water Sampling Program” and locations where surface water runoff could leave the facility. Inspectors did not observe the landfill site or north side of the plant site, with the exception of the discharge location for the culvert system draining to the turnaround pond (NW corner). For additional observations relating to the turnaround pond, refer to the inspection observation titled “Sulphur Plant area and culvert system draining to the Turnaround Pond”.

Inspectors noted that the diagram included in the “FNGP Surface Water Sampling Program” did not include all potential drainage routes for discharge of surface water from the site observed by Inspectors, and did not include the location of sampling points noted in the figures in the Program. Surface water from some areas of the FNGP plant site are directed into the Effluent Plant, and Spectra indicated that water is sampled and confirmed to meet criteria prior to discharge. However, Spectra confirmed that surface water runoff from areas in the west, south and east portions of the site are not contained and sampled prior to discharge from the plant site, although they are sampled at least annually. Spectra said that it considers these areas “low-risk” and therefore runoff does not require containment and sampling prior to discharge.

Inspectors observed open sulphur bins being stored within these areas, as well as substantial amounts of other waste, including metal, garbage, cardboard, and discarded electrical equipment. Inspectors also observed that the BS 12 building (which houses compressor units, although currently not in use), the Sulphur Plant and various other buildings are located within areas identified as low-risk.

Inspectors noted that the “FNGP Surface Water Sampling and Release Protocol” and the “FNGP Surface Water Sampling Program” documents do not contain any information regarding an assessment of risk relating to surface water runoff, or identify areas by risk level. Spectra staff stated that they own additional property beyond the fenced in area of the site, and highlighted the difference between surface water leaving the plant site and leaving the property. However, the documents reviewed do not clearly describe the surface water flow paths in some in some areas of the plant, or where surface water discharged from the plant site flow to, including areas on and off Spectra property.

Inspectors note that the “FNGP Surface Water Sampling and Release Protocol” and “FNGP Surface Water Sampling Program” do not clearly reflect the conditions of the site. Spectra staff were not able to demonstrate that the site specific procedures meet the objectives of the “Spectra SOP for Surface Water Runoff Management” and that the site specific procedures adequately address potential hazards associated with surface water runoff.
Does this observation specifically reference the Canada Labour Code or its regulations? No

Compliance Summary

Compliance Summary
Theme Compliance Tools Used Corrective Action Due Date
Environmental Protection Notice of Non-Compliance (NNC) 15/06/2016
Date/Time visited Location
2016-04-01 06:00 PM Sulphur Plant area and culvert system draining to the Turnaround Pond
Observations
An approximately 0.5 x 0.5 x 0.2 m piece of solid sulphur was observed at the entrance to a culvert near the Train 10 Converter at the Sulphur plant. Spectra personnel discussed over the course of the inspection that the sulphur was the result of an incident at the sulphur plant in November 2015. The incident (INC2015-135) resulted in the release of approximately 105 Tonnes of liquid (molten) sulphur. Some of that sulphur flowed into the on-site culvert system used to discharge untreated surface water runoff off-site via the pond at the turnaround (Turnaround Pond). Sulphur solidified in the culverts, and was visible when looking into caissons to the northwest of the sulphur plant. In discussions with Spectra, NEB inspectors found that Spectra had identified there to be potential hazards to surface water runoff associated with the released sulphur in the culvert system and spill area. Spectra took steps to prevent this from occurring including blocking a culvert with clay to prevent uncontrolled discharge from the impacted culvert to the Turnaround Pond. Pumps and hoses are being used to move water from vertical caissons to the Turnaround Pond. In response to the incident, Spectra had developed the “FNGP Surface Water Sampling & Release Protocol” intended to achieve the following:
1) contain potentially affected runoff in the Turnaround Pond
2) sample contained water to determine if release criteria were being met
3) if sampling demonstrated that criteria were met, open valve and release water
4) if criteria were not met, pump water to closed effluent system for treatment

Spectra provided results of field sampling that indicated water that was sampled from various sampling points in this area had not exceeded the environmental criteria. However, sampling of runoff water appeared to be occurring inconsistently, including from different locations and while water was discharging, rather than prior to discharge.

Inspectors observed that water was discharging upstream and around the valve at the Turnaround Pond and that the pond could not contain water. Spectra representatives later confirmed that the Turnaround Pond was not designed to contain water, for example it was not lined and the culvert at the outlet is perforated. Therefore, the sampling protocol developed did not reflect the conditions of the site. The sampling method and site conditions suggest that Spectra would have limited ability to stop a release if sampling indicated the water did not meet environmental criteria, and affected Spectra’s ability to demonstrate that all water discharged met the required criteria.

Spectra took immediate action while NEB Inspectors were on site to mitigate the potential hazard of discharging surface water outside of environmental criteria, including improving the isolation of the culvert systems; improving and clarifying its sampling and release protocol; and identifying potential contingency measures. However, additional corrective actions, or documentation of actions discussed on site is required.
Regulatory Requirements
The NEB Processing Plant Regulations, states:
30. (1) A company shall:
(a) develop, implement and regularly review and update operations manuals that provide information and procedures to promote safety and environmental protection in the operation of its processing plant,
Corrective Action or Request Required
Provide an Action Plan to mitigate outstanding potential hazards from the November 2015 sulphur release. The plan must include the following: 1) an updated interim plan or protocol for managing (sampling and releasing) surface water that is potentially impacted by sulphur. The interim surface water management plan must include contingency measures and the criteria for initiating contingency measures for situations where i) sampling and field analysis of surface water shows surface water is close to being outside of environmental criteria; and, ii) the onsite effluent treatment facility is approaching its capacity to treat any additional water;
  –Note: Spectra will provide this interim plan/protocol by 24 May 2016, in advance of other corrective action items required by this notice of non-compliance which are due 15 June 2016.
2) Spectra’s plan to remove or contain the source of sulphur that remains on site, particularly sulphur remaining in the culverts;
3) Spectra’s plan to conduct and submit the appropriate level of Environmental Site Assessment(s) to determine if remediation or monitoring is required in accordance with the NEB’s Remediation Process Guide; and,
4) Spectra’s schedule to implement items 1 through 3.
Does this observation specifically reference the Canada Labour Code or its regulations? No
Compliance Summary
Theme Compliance Tools Used Corrective Action Due Date
Environmental Protection Corrected in field (Corrected Non-Compliance) 05/04/2016
Date/Time visited Location
2016-04-02 02:30 PM Various Sulphur Waste Storage bins around Fort Nelson Gas Plant
Observations
Metal bins containing solid sulphur were not closed or protected from precipitation in several areas of the plant site site, including: one bin near Train 11 Acid Gas Heater; three bins in upper laydown area (south side of plant); and, one bin containing sulphur and sulphur contaminated soil north of hazardous waste storage area.

Spectra stated that the source of the sulphur stored in the bins was cleanup from the November 2015 release. The open bins allow precipitation to contact sulphur. The bins did not appear to be containing water (holes in bins were observed, or soils around culverts were wet), such that leakage from the bins could present a potential environmental hazard. The upper laydown area appears to drain towards an uncontrolled culvert that discharges to the east.

Spectra representatives indicated that it may not be possible to remove the bins from site for disposal immediately due to the current soft ground conditions, but that it could cover the bins to reduce the potential of water contacting the bins.

Spectra provided photographic evidence on Monday 4-Apr-2016 and Tuesday 5-Apr-2016 demonstrating that the lids on bins had been closed where possible and tarps were installed on bins without lids, which correct this non-compliance. However, inspectors note that these temporary storage bins do not seem consistent with Spectra’s long term sulphur storage bins, and have been in place since cleanup of the incident. Inspectors would like to emphasize Spectra’s commitment to remove these bins as soon as reasonably practicable.
Regulatory Requirements
The NEB Processing Plant Regulations state:
30. (1) A company shall:
(a) develop, implement and regularly review and update operations manuals that provide information and procedures to promote safety and environmental protection in the operation of its processing plant

Spectra’s Environmental Management (EM) Program, Manage Industrial Waste Process requires “3. All Waste storage areas must be identified and wastes stored properly” and “Ensure on-site industrial waste is contained, stored and managed in accordance with the Industrial Waste Handling and Storage SOP.”

Spectra’s SOP for Industrial Waste Handling and Storage requires waste storage areas to be inspected on a monthly basis at minimum. Spectra’s Environmental checklist identifies proper storage of waste as “upright, sealed”
Corrective Action or Request Required
Spectra will seal the bins containing sulphur by closing lids or installing tarps on bins without lids, in accordance with Spectra’s Environmental checklist.
Does this observation specifically reference the Canada Labour Code or its regulations? No
Compliance Summary
Theme Compliance Tools Used Corrective Action Due Date
Environmental Protection Notice of Non-Compliance (NNC) 24/05/2016
Date/Time visited Location
2016-04-02 02:50 PM Various Mixed Waste Storage areas around Fort Nelson Gas Plant
Observations
Bins containing different types of waste, including sulphur, cardboard, wood, garbage and batteries, were located in several areas across the plant site. Waste bins were not labeled at the following locations: near train 11 acid gas heater; upper laydown area (south); bone yard area (east); and, hazardous waste storage area (north).

Spectra provided photographs demonstrating labels had been placed on the bins containing sulphur on 5-Apr-2015, but has not provided photos demonstrating that labels have been placed on the bins containing other waste.
Regulatory Requirements
The NEB Processing Plant Regulations state:
30. (1) A company shall:
(a)develop, implement and regularly review and update operations manuals that provide information and procedures to promote safety and environmental protection in the operation of its processing plant

Spectra’s Environmental Management (EM) Program, Manage Industrial Waste Process requires “3. All Waste storage areas must be identified and wastes stored properly” and “Ensure on-site industrial waste is contained, stored and managed in accordance with the Industrial Waste Handling and Storage SOP.”

Spectra’s SOP for Industrial Waste Handling and Storage requires waste storage areas to be inspected on a monthly basis at minimum. Spectra’s Environmental checklist requires bins to be “labeled properly”.
Corrective Action or Request Required
Spectra will add labels to all waste storage bins on site that are not currently labeled.
Spectra will provide photographic evidence of bin labeling for the remaining unlabeled bins that were identified during the inspection.
Does this observation specifically reference the Canada Labour Code or its regulations? No
Compliance Summary
Theme Compliance Tools Used Corrective Action Due Date
Environmental Protection Notice of Non-Compliance (NNC) 15/06/2016
Date/Time visited Location
2016-04-02 (Time Unspecified) Various locations around Fort Nelson Gas Plant
Observations
Evidence of sulphur spills (i.e. yellow staining or pieces of solid sulphur) was observed on the ground in several areas around the Fort Nelson Gas Plant. Areas with sulphur visible on the ground or on infrastructure include: Train 10 converter, Train 12 Reactors, support pillar at D3 valve, uncontrolled drainage southeast side of plant. Some of the spills may be related to the November 2015 release. while Spectra stated the sulphur on the support pillar was possibly from approximately three years ago when the valve was changed. Spectra stated there was no ongoing leak at that location.

Spectra discussed that between now and June is generally the time when Spectra focuses on cleaning up small spills.
Regulatory Requirements
The NEB Processing Plant Regulations state:
30. (1) A company shall:
(a) develop, implement and regularly review and update operations manuals that provide information and procedures to promote safety and environmental protection in the operation of its processing plant,

Ft Nelson Gas Plant – Unit Operator Expectations document, Housekeeping section states “Remove all garbage and put it in the dumpsters,” “sulphur is stowed in the red dumpsters in the sulphur plant” and, “Keep the operating areas clean”
Corrective Action or Request Required
Spectra will:
1) cleanup sulphur spills in all areas identified during the inspection;
2) provide photographic evidence of sulfur cleanup at pillar near D3 valve and Train 12 Reactor; and,
3) provide a reference to where in its manuals and procedures Spectra outlines its expectations or requirements for timeliness of spill cleanup (including spot spills and sulphur pieces).
Does this observation specifically reference the Canada Labour Code or its regulations? No
Compliance Summary
Theme Compliance Tools Used Corrective Action Due Date
Environmental Protection Notice of Non-Compliance (NNC) 30/06/2016
Date/Time visited Location
2016-04-02 (Time Unspecified) Fort Nelson Gas Plant Surface Water Mangement
Observations
As part of the inspection, Inspectors requested and reviewed the following documentation:
– FNGP Surface Water Sampling and Release Protocol (no date)
– Spectra Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for Surface Water Runoff Management – Reference No. CAN-WEST-EM-EFF-SOP-SURF-02, Revision Date 20 April 2015
– FNGP Surface Water Sampling Program (no date).

Inspectors walked the west, south and east sides of the perimeter of the plant site, observing sampling locations identified in the “FNGP Surface Water Sampling Program” and locations where surface water runoff could leave the facility. Inspectors did not observe the landfill site or north side of the plant site, with the exception of the discharge location for the culvert system draining to the turnaround pond (NW corner). For additional observations relating to the turnaround pond, refer to the inspection observation titled “Sulphur Plant area and culvert system draining to the Turnaround Pond”.

Inspectors noted that the diagram included in the “FNGP Surface Water Sampling Program” did not include all potential drainage routes for discharge of surface water from the site observed by Inspectors, and did not include the location of sampling points noted in the figures in the Program. Surface water from some areas of the FNGP plant site are directed into the Effluent Plant, and Spectra indicated that water is sampled and confirmed to meet criteria prior to discharge. However, Spectra confirmed that surface water runoff from areas in the west, south and east portions of the site are not contained and sampled prior to discharge from the plant site, although they are sampled at least annually. Spectra said that it considers these areas “low-risk” and therefore runoff does not require containment and sampling prior to discharge.

Inspectors observed open sulphur bins being stored within these areas, as well as substantial amounts of other waste, including metal, garbage, cardboard, and discarded electrical equipment. Inspectors also observed that the BS 12 building (which houses compressor units, although currently not in use), the Sulphur Plant and various other buildings are located within areas identified as low-risk.

Inspectors noted that the “FNGP Surface Water Sampling and Release Protocol” and the “FNGP Surface Water Sampling Program” documents do not contain any information regarding an assessment of risk relating to surface water runoff, or identify areas by risk level. Spectra staff stated that they own additional property beyond the fenced in area of the site, and highlighted the difference between surface water leaving the plant site and leaving the property. However, the documents reviewed do not clearly describe the surface water flow paths in some in some areas of the plant, or where surface water discharged from the plant site flow to, including areas on and off Spectra property.

Inspectors note that the “FNGP Surface Water Sampling and Release Protocol” and “FNGP Surface Water Sampling Program” do not clearly reflect the conditions of the site. Spectra staff were not able to demonstrate that the site specific procedures meet the objectives of the “Spectra SOP for Surface Water Runoff Management” and that the site specific procedures adequately address potential hazards associated with surface water runoff.
Regulatory Requirements
The NEB Processing Plant Regulations state:
30. (1) A company shall:
(a) develop, implement and regularly review and update operations manuals that provide information and procedures to promote safety and environmental protection in the operation of its processing plant,

The Spectra SOP for Surface Water Runoff Management states:
"No one is authorized to discharge surface water or industrial runoff unless it is proven that the surface water accumulated in the area in question meets regulatory requirements" and "No one is allowed to discharge into the environment any surface water or industrial runoff such as leaks and drips from equipment"
Corrective Action or Request Required
Spectra will provide the following:
1) an assessment of potential environmental risks associated with surface water runoff throughout the FNGP that includes a discussion of the pathways that surface water runoff may take after leaving the site, and of sensitive environmental receptors both on and off of Spectra property;
2) a plan for managing surface water runoff at the Fort Nelson Gas Plant to promote environmental protection in the operation of the plant. The plan must meet the criteria of the Spectra SOP for Surface Water Runoff Management, and include the following:
  a) information and procedures to mitigate the identified environmental risks, which may include containment, sampling and discharge of surface water;
  b) a discussion of how the procedures in the plan meet all of the requirements of the Spectra SOP for Surface Water Runoff Management;
  c) an updated diagram that shows the drainage paths for surface water runoff throughout the FNGP site, containment areas for surface water, and all locations where surface water may leave the site, and all sampling points;
3) a description of how Spectra will ensure that appropriate staff members are trained on the information and procedures in the plan; and
4) Spectra’s schedule to implement the various elements of the plan.
Does this observation specifically reference the Canada Labour Code or its regulations? No

This notice reflects the observations of non-compliance with regulatory requirements or company commitments, made by the inspection officer during the compliance verification activity. If the corrective actions identified are implemented by the completion date, the matter is considered resolved. Any unresolved compliance matters will be addressed by the inspection officer and may be referred to NEB enforcement staff.

517 Tenth Avenue SW Calgary, Alberta  T2R 0A8
Telephone: 403-292-4800   Toll Free: 1-800-899-1265

 

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