Key Watermain Ruptured by Drilling – “he bore where he shouldn’t have”
It is not likely that people remember the news specifically from July 24, 2007, but anyone involved in drilling work surely had shivers going down their spine watching the news clips of the Burnaby neighbourhood covered in a thick layer of 234,000 litres of crude oil as the result of a pipeline strike. Truly a case of a picture being worth a thousand words; if you google “Burnaby oil spill photo” you will see some startling photos. Anyone who sees those photos would certainly not attempt a drilling project without getting proper locates.
The Transportation Safety Board issued their report in March 2009 which discusses the facts about the incident and some conclusions of the reasons for its occurrence. In the “Findings as to Causes and Contributing Factors”, the second of the 6 points particularly caught our attention:
“2. Since the location of the Westridge Pipeline was not verified along Inlet Drive, as required under the crossing agreement and the National Energy Board Pipeline Crossing Regulations, Part I, the discrepancy between its location, as shown on the design drawings, and its actual field location was not discovered before the start of construction.”
In other words, they did not have proper locates ! In other areas of the text it refers to personnel relying on drawings instead of locates and the drawings being incorrect. Kodiak has been requested many times to drill on the basis of design or as-built drawings instead of proper locates. We wouldn’t do it then, and we sure wouldn’t do it now, after this incident. Some resources on this topic are provided below:
click on this link, if you would like to see first hand, what can happen if your locates are not complete. Some other interesting links are below:
1. The day before the drilling date, the consultant checked with the site contractor, who he assumed had done the locates, to find that the locates had not even been called in yet.
2. An intermittent drilling project was undertaken off and on over several weeks. Upon returning to the site a few weeks after starting the project, drilling could not be undertaken because the locates had not been renewed after the initial locate request.
3. We arrived at a drilling site; upon checking the locates, we found them to be out of date and therefore drilling could not be undertaken that day. Another drilling company reportedly did the work later because they did not care that the locates were out of date.
4. A drilling project was continuously delayed by the consultant because they were so busy they could not schedule any field staff. They finally found a day the field technician could do it; but they had delayed it so long that when we arrived at the site the locates had expired and nobody had renewed them. It then took another 2 weeks to get the locates renewed and re-schedule the field technician.
5. We received a call from a consultant who was in a panic to have drilling completed ASAP in order to facilitate a real estate transaction. When we discussed locates, he indicated he did not need them as the area was excavated a few years ago. The legal aspects of locates were explained to him; he subsequently booked a different driller who would drill without the locates because his client “couldn’t wait”.
6. Drilling was delayed for two hours at a recent job site, because the field technician didn’t bring the locates with him and had to drive back to the office.
7. Drilling could not be undertaken at a recent project site because the consultant failed to contact the local hydro utility company to get a hydro locate. The driller was issued an ultimatum by the field technician that if he did not drill then they would never hire Kodiak again. Although the customer is king, and we tried our hardest to get the utility company out that day to do a locate, we will never ever put the schedule of a project ahead of the safety of consulting, drilling or site personnel. The potential safety and legal liability to the site owner, the consultant and Kodiak are not at the whim of a field technician lacking the knowledge of what is means to have proper locates. In the end, the client hired another driller who didn’t care that the locates were not complete.
8. An indoor drilling job was booked with us and the client advised they would get all the locates. Upon arriving at the site, there was no 1-Call locates. The client advised that 1-Call refused their request and therefore they interpreted that to mean that locates were not “required”. In reality what had happened is that the client requested 1-Call to clear specific drilling locations inside the building, which they will not do. Although 1-Call will not undertake locates inside the building, they must be requested to locate their utilities on the outside perimeter of the building, so that it can be demonstrated that their utilities do not extend to areas under the building.
This is a good one – We hear this one a lot – “we don’t need locates, the owner has been here a long time and knows where all the utilities are located”
A local gas station was closed after the property owner cut a 2-inch gas line while digging. Fire officials said the property owner was using a backhoe to dig into the hillside next to his business when he ruptured the line. A fire official said there was no immediate danger outside the gas station area and the gas was turned off at the station. The property owner said he has owned the land for more than 30 years and was not aware of the line’s location. Read the story here
An Ontario firm was convicted in December and fined $5,000 (plus 25% victim surcharge) for failing to obtain proper locates prior to undertaking their work, which resulted in hitting a gas line. You can view the TSSA press release with more information by clicking here