From Hamilton to Toronto: Imperial Oil Pipeline Replacement Project Awaiting Approval from the OEB

Sixty-three kilometers (63km) of an aging pipeline with its terminal in Finch, North York, and Waterdown pump station in Hamilton, is soon the be replaced by Imperial Oil.  That Toronto's infrastructure is aging is no surprise.  Pipelines' aside, much of Toronto's underground infrastructure (notably its water pipe infrastructure) is nearing the 50 to 80 years old lifespan.  The result is often inconvenient construction projects across the city that, more often than not, creates immense delays for motorists on the roadways.  With respect to this particular construction project, and according to relevant documents from Imperial Oil's website, the proposed construction project is also expected to cross five major highways, including 401 and 427.  Imperial Oil describes the pipeline project as follows:
"Imperial’s Sarnia Products Pipeline provides gasoline, diesel and jet fuel for households and businesses across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area. To support continued safety and reliability, Imperial plans to replace approximately 63-kilometres of pipeline between Imperial’s Waterdown pump station and the company’s terminal in Toronto’s North York. Imperial will replace the 12-inch pipeline with a 12-inch pipeline. Imperial wants to share project details and answer questions at our community information sessions in the summer and fall of 2018."

Imperial Oil's Sarnia Products Pipeline Replacement Project: Problem Solved?

Aside from the fact that it is approaching its maximum lifespan, the proposal for this pipeline replacement project is due in part to issues encountered early in 2019, whereby Toronto and the GTA experience significant gas shortages that is, some gas retailers weren't receiving gas shipments due to the fact that delivery trucks couldn't travel in Toronto's extreme winter weather.  Indeed, Toronto saw some extreme winter weather that included large downfalls of snow that greatly impeded the roadways.  The proposed pipeline project would offer a partial solution to prevent this problem from reoccurring during future winter periods. Worded differently, the gas would be delivered more efficiently through the new proposed pipeline, which would be operational 24/7, rather than having trucks transport it through congested roadways. 

The Process Behind the Sarnia Products Pipeline Replacement Project

According to information provided by Imperial Oil, the project has already proceeded in taking preliminary steps, namely detailing and environmental and route planning study process in accordance with the requirements of the Ontario Energy Board’s Environmental Guidelines for the Location, Construction, and Operation of Hydrocarbon Pipelines and Facilities in Ontario. The study in question will analyze pipeline routing, describe the natural and social components of the environment, outline safety measures, and include proposed mitigation and monitoring measures.

In addition to working with relevant regulatory bodies and different levels of government on technical, safety and environmental approvals, Imperial Oil is also engaging with the Ontario Pipeline Coordinating Committee, which consists of government agencies that have a role in the review of the proposed pipeline replacement project. Findings and conclusions from the study, including the preparation of the Environmental Report and an Indigenous Consultation Report, will be filed with the Ontario Energy Board as part of Imperial’s leave to construction application in 2019.

Sarnia Products Pipeline Replacement Project: Public Consultations and OEB Approval

This pipeline replacement project is subject only to the Ontario Energy Board's final approval.  If approved, the pipeline project would commence in 2020.  To ensure that the City of Toronto is not excluded from the decision-making process regarding this proposed pipeline replacement construction project, and perhaps more importantly, to ensure that the construction project is conducted safely and without disasters, city Councillor Anthony Peruzza introduced a motion in council on Tuesday (May 14, 2019).  Perhaps more importantly, community information sessions are scheduled as described in the table immediately below: