Pipeline Incidents Safety Brief

Pipeline Incidents Safety Brief 1280x720

Signs of a Potential Pipeline Leak

What you may smell

  • Many petroleum products have a distinct smell. Crude oil can possess a rotten egg, gasoline, tar or “skunk-like” odor

What you may see

  • Amber to black liquid
  • Rainbow sheen or black liquid on top of water
  • Discolored vegetation on or near a pipeline in an area that is usually green
  • Stained or melted snow/ice over pipeline areas

What you may hear

  • A hissing or roaring sound

If you suspect a leak, call TransCanada’s emergency number: 1.800.447.8066. This number can be found on all pipeline marker signs and facility gates.

Do's and Don'ts


  • Protect yourselves and the public
  • Contain and extinguish any secondary fires if safe to do so
  • Refer to 128 in the 2012 ERG for guidance on initial response including potential evacuation distances
  • Provide traffic and crowd control.
  • Secure the site – ensure public safety. Keep a safe distance away
  • Stay upwind and uphill if possible
  • Monitor for LEL, H2S and benzene if possible
  • Evacuate unnecessary personnel
  • Eliminate all ignition sources if safe to do so
  • Provide first aid as needed.
  • Allow TransCanada employees clear access to the emergency site

Do Not

  • Attempt to operate any valves
  • Go near the spill until a hazard assessment has been conducted by TransCanada
  • Attempt to contain the oil or try to identify the oil

Being A Partner in Pipeline Safety

Although a pipeline leak is rare, it is important to know how to recognize the signs. Use your senses of smelling, seeing and hearing to detect a potential pipeline leak.

Responding to a pipeline incident

A pipeline incident could involve an uncontrolled or unplanned release of oil from the pipeline system. TransCanada’s state-of-the-art leak-detection systems, elevated safety features and specially trained staff make us confident leaks would be quickly identified and responded to.

In the unlikely event of an incident, TransCanada’s top priorities are to ensure the safety of the public and minimize effects on the environment and surrounding properties.

Pipeline incident response includes:

  • TransCanada will immediately respond by shutting down the pipeline and dispatching emergency personnel to the location of the incident
  • Valves spaced at intervals along all TransCanada pipelines will be shut off allowing incidents to be quickly and effectively isolated
  • Trained crews are dispatched to the site to further isolate the area and coordinate a response with local emergency services
  • TransCanada will not restart the pipeline until the issue has been identified, resolved and it is safe to do so
  • TransCanada’s policies and practices for emergency response planning go above and beyond the standard regulatory requirements for emergency response
  • TransCanada does not expect volunteer or dedicated local fire departments to have the equipment or specific experience needed to respond to a leak or rupture
  • We work with emergency response officials in a Unified Command to ensure everyone are familiar with local operations and is ready to respond in the event of an incident
  • Our crews will respond immediately
Transcanada logo

TransCanada is a leading North American energy infrastructure company with an industry-leading safety record. For more than 60 years, TransCanada has built, operates and maintained pipeline systems in a responsible and reliable way to meet the energy needs of North America. For more information about TransCanada, visit www.transcanada.com, read the TransCanada Blog, follow them on Twitter @TransCanada or connect on LinkedIn.


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