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​Bringing natural gas to your community

July 2019 update: After several years working closely with local communities, we have received Ontario Energy Board (OEB) approval of our Leave to Construct application. This approval means we have the go-ahead to construct and operate the natural gas distribution system. Read our July 2019 Customer Newsletter and July 2019 Notice of Construction.

Project overview

​​Between now and 2021, we will be working to construct the distribution system and connect customers in Chesley, Paisley, Inverhuron, Tiverton, Kincardine, Lurgan Beach, Point Clark, Ripley, Lucknow and the Bruce Energy Centre. 

EPCOR's distribution system will consist of 2 components:

  • A larger diameter mainline that will be the backbone of the system and transport gas to each of the communities, approximately 120 km.
  • Smaller diameter medium-density polyethylene (MDPE) distribution piping that will be constructed with each of the communities to directly serve homes and businesses, approximately 178 km.

The Ontario Energy Board (OEB) awarded EPCOR the project in April 2018, and approved our Leave to Construct application in July 2019. The board is currently reviewing our Rates Application.

Pipeline routes

The mainline will commence at Dornoch at an interconnection with Union Gas and will extend westerly from Dornoch to the Bruce Energy Centre, then extending south to serve Inverhuron, Tiverton, Kincardine Lurgan Beach and Point Clark. The mainline will then extend east to serve Ripley and Lucknow. The map below illustrates the routing of this mainline. Click the image to view it larger.

 

The route selection process

When developing route options, our goal is to identify a preferred route with lower levels of overall impact. We consider several factors, including:

  • Input from local stakeholders
  • Health and safety
  • Social impacts
  • Environment
  • Existing infrastructure
  • Use of existing infrastructure space, such as utility corridors and road right-of-ways
  • Length of the pipeline and associated costs
  • Routing that follows a reasonably direct path between start and end points
  • Construction impacts

Timeline

Under our current timeline, we expect to begin connecting our first customers by the end of this year. In 2020 and 2021 we will bring more communities onto the natural gas distribution system. We anticipate bringing the full system in-service by the end of 2021. Construction will be completed in phases. At each step, we will notify local stakeholders of construction activities and strive to minimize any potential impacts.

 

Construction

​What's happening

In summer 2019, construction will include 60 km of eight-inch steel pipeline from Dornoch to the Bruce Energy Centre. Construction will be along municipal road right of ways. We expect to employ 150 workers at peak summer construction (around September). Work will be completed in stages along the route.

Key steps include:

  1. Establishing temporary workspaces along the route
  2. Bringing material (including pipe) and equipment on site to prepare for construction
  3. Tree and vegetation clearing as required along the pipeline route within municipal road right of ways
  4. Establishing Traffic Control measures along municipal roads in the pipeline route
  5. Trenching, welding and installation of the pipeline
  6. Testing the pipeline prior to putting it in service
  7. Site restoration

Schedule

Construction will occur between spring and fall. Energization of the first phase of the natural gas system is anticipated to occur in December 2019.

Our hours of work will be Monday to Saturday from 7:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; however, occasional evening or Sunday work may be required.

What to expect during construction 

Traffic disruptions

Construction will occur along road allowances and cross the following roads:

  • Grey Road 25 (County of Grey)
  • Bentinck Sullivan (Chatsworth)
  • Bruce Road 19 (County of Bruce)
  • Brant-Elderslie (Brockton/Arran-Elderslie)
  • Concession 18 (Brockton)
  • Bruce Road 1 (County of Bruce)
  • Bruce Road 20 (County of Bruce)
  • Farrell Dr (Kincardine At the Bruce Energy Centre)

We anticipate needing to temporarily close a lane of traffic on the side of the road where crews are working. In some cases, we may need to close portions of the road for a 24-hour period and reroute traffic temporarily. In case of emergency, Aecon is able to provide immediate access to any property or road. Traffic disruptions and accommodations will be clearly marked and we will provide advance notification where possible.

Vegetation

In some areas, we may need to trim or remove trees or other vegetation where we are installing the pipeline to meet safety clearance requirements.

Noise

During construction, you can expect typical activity such as vehicles, equipment and crews in the area. Work will create typical noise associated with construction. We will take measures to ensure we comply with local bylaws for noise control. If it's necessary to temporarily exceed acceptable noise levels, we will work with municipalities to obtain the required permits.

Odourant monitoring

Natural gas is inherently odourless. Industry regulation and best practice is to add an odourant, called mercaptan gas, so that any leaks in the system can be quickly detected. Once the first phase is energized (December 2019), we will conduct gas odorant monitoring for three months. During this time, you may notice occasional odours from the pipeline. The odourant is temporary and is not harmful.

Safety

Safety is a responsibility we all share.

We will maintain our work areas in a safe and secure manner, and perform our work according to all local bylaws and occupational health and safety and environmental requirements. We will take every precaution to ensure public safety, including fencing or marking construction areas to restrict access.

To help ensure we all stay safe during summer construction, please:

  • Slow down around construction.
  • Obey all traffic and lane controls, including flag people.
  • Stay outside of barriers and fences.
  • Keep children and pets a safe distance away from work sites and equipment.

The project team

  • EPCOR will operate the natural gas distribution system under the name EPCOR Natural Gas LP.
  • Aecon Utilities is the project's design construction partner.
  • Stantec Consulting Ltd. supported development of the Environmental Report and all regulatory and permit applications, and is providing environmental monitoring services during construction.
  • LandSolutions is a land consulting firm that will support EPCOR in accessing and managing land for the project.
Community & environmental impact
We value the environment and the communities where we work and live. EPCOR works closely with stakeholders to ensure impacts, both to the Southern Bruce community and natural environment, are minimized.

Environmental considerations

A comprehensive environmental study of the construction and operation of the natural gas pipeline has been completed and submitted to the Ontario Energy Board to meet the intent of the Ontario Energy Board's Environmental Guidelines for the Location, Construction and Operation of Hydrocarbon Pipelines and facilities in Ontario, 7th Edition (2016).

We have consulted with landowners, residents, Aboriginal communities, government agencies, and others who are interested in the project in order to balance the Project's development with environmental considerations. These considerations include:

  • First Nations and Métis Interests

  • Wildlife habitat and Species at Risk

  • Water resources and waterways

  • Soils and agricultural lands

  • Impacts to residents and businesses

  • Heritage resources and Cultural Heritage Landscapes

Local infrastructure impacts

The pipeline consists of approximately 75 km of steel high pressure pipe and approximately 45 km of medium density polyethylene pipe. Through a combined 178 km of distribution piping, natural gas service will be provided to a maximized number of customer connections including residential, commercial, agricultural and industrial customers in Arran-Elderslie, Kincardine, and Huron-Kinloss.

Employment impacts

Contractors and suppliers play a vital role in our ability to do business. We are currently in the planning stages of this project. Details on how the project will affect local employment, as well as employment opportunities, in Southern Bruce communities will be available at a later date.

Public consultation update

  • EPCOR continues to engage landowners, residents, First Nations and Métis communities, as well as other directly-affected and interested stakeholders in the development of this project. We will continue to respond to concerns throughout the life of the project.
  • In May 2018, EPCOR held 3 drop-in information sessions for the public to learn about the project.
  • EPCOR will hold public information sessions with more information on rates and how customers can get connected after the OEB approves the project.
Regulatory process

EPCOR has been working since 2015 to bring natural gas service to the area. In 2016, the Municipality of Kincardine, Township of Huron-Kinloss and the Municipality of Arran-Elderslie selected EPCOR as the preferred provider through a competitive process and entered into gas distribution franchise agreements.

The OEB regulates the natural gas industry in Ontario in the public's interest. Under Section 90 of the Ontario Energy Board Act, the OEB's review and approval are required before the Project can proceed. Here's an overview of the regulatory process:

  • July 2019: The OEB approves EPCOR's Leave to Construct application.
  • April 2019: The OEB issues a Notice of Hearing for EPCOR's Rate Application.
  • March 2019: The OEB issues a Notice of Hearing for EPCOR's Leave to Construct application.
  • October 2018: We apply to transfer the certificates of public convenience and necessity to EPCOR Natural Gas Limited Partnership to consolidate our natural gas operations in Ontario under a single entity. The OEB approved this application in November 2018.
  • Fall 2018: We file our Leave to Construct (EB-2018-0263) and Rate (EB-2018-0264) applications with the OEB.

  • July 2018: We complete the report for the environmental study.

  • April 2018: After a detailed and public competitive process, the OEB awarded EPCOR the project and issued the certificates of public convenience and necessity.

  • October 2017: EPCOR submitted the Common Infrastructure Plan to the OEB