Environmental Stewardship

Our Commitment to the Environment

Building an interstate natural gas pipeline is a carefully studied, reviewed, regulated and monitored process. Numerous federal and state agencies have regulations with which Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline must comply which are designed to minimize the impact to the environment from the construction and operation of a pipeline.

In addition to complying with the safety requirements of the PHMSA, Pacific Connector will construct and restore all disturbed areas in accordance with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC’s) Wetland and Waterbody Procedures and FERC’s Upland Erosion Control, Revegetation and Maintenance Plans.

Many other regulators, including the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, and the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development, will review the pipeline’s environmental plans and procedures and work closely with Pacific Connector to mitigate potential impacts to fish, wildlife and the environment.

 

Trenchless Construction

Pacific Connector crosses a number of streams, rivers and water bodies as well as Interstates, highways, roads and rail roads. To address the impacts of construction and long term operation of a pipeline to these items, PCGP will employ the use of various types of trenchless construction for the installation of the pipeline.

These methods include both guided and auger bores, horizontal directional drilling, and the newest technology of direct pipe installation.

Auger Bore

The Auger Bore method of construction where the pipeline is installed beneath the area to be crossed by welding together the pipe that will be installed and placing an auger within the pipe. Much like the auger used to remove a cork from a bottle, the auger in this case removes the soil from in front of the pipe while the pipe is moved into the ground until the entire crossing is installed. This type must be installed in a straight line.

Horizontal Directional Drill (HDD)

The HDD method of construction where the pipeline is installed beneath the area to be crossed via the drilling of a smaller hole from one side to the other.  The drill rig is set at the surface and begins drilling the hole in a smooth gentle arc from one side of the crossing to the other.  That hole is then enlarged by making successive passes through the initial hole with larger and larger expanders until the hole is large enough to pull the pipeline through. For integrity of the hole during construction, the driller utilizes a drilling fluid derived from non-toxic bentonite clay mixed with water.

Guided Bore

The Guided Bore method of construction is a smaller cousin of the HDD.  Much like the HDD, the pipeline is installed beneath the area to be crossed via the drilling of a smaller hole from one side to the other.  The drill rig is set at the surface and begins drilling the hole in a smooth gentle arc from one side of the crossing to the other.  That hole is then enlarged by making successive passes through the initial hole with larger and larger expanders until the hole is large enough to pull the pipeline through. For integrity of the hole during construction, the driller utilizes a drilling fluid derived from non-toxic bentonite clay mixed with water. Unlike the HDD, the guided bore is utilized to install crossings where the geology allows for the trenchless installation to be closer to the surface and the crossing needed is shorter in distance.

Direct Pipe

Direct Pipe is one of the newest technologies to allow for the trenchless installation of pipelines.  The Direct Pipe method is a blend of the auger bore and HDD method of construction where the pipeline is installed beneath the area to be crossed via the drilling of a hole from one side to the other.  Like the auger bore, the initial hole is the same size diameter to the pipe being installed in the hole and like the HDD, the pipe is installed in a gentle arc across the crossing.

Trenchless Limitations

All of these methods have their limitations and appropriate applications such as length and depth of the installation.  From shortest crossing to longest, the methods are; Auger Bores which must be installed horizontally without and bends, Guided Bores which require good soils near the surface, Direct Pipe, and HDD whose length and depth are dependent on the soil types and length of crossing.

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