From time to time, landowners ask us about land access and use along the pipeline right-of-way, or about their rights and responsibilities and the rights and responsibilities of Enbridge. This section responds to the questions we receive most often.
I've heard that as a landowner, I could be responsible for any abandoned pipeline on my land. Is that true?
No. In Canada, by law, the pipeline company – not the landowner – is responsible for its pipelines and for abandonment of its pipelines.
We operate in a highly regulated industry and abandonment is covered in National Energy Board (NEB) legislation and in other federal and provincial regulations, as well as generally in Enbridge's easement agreements with each landowner. A company may temporarily or indefinitely stop using a pipeline for the transportation of materials if it is no longer needed. However, a company can never abandon its social, regulatory or environmental responsibilities for that pipeline or its obligation to its landowners. We remain responsible for the pipeline whether it is active or out of service.
If Enbridge wants to abandon a pipeline, we apply to the NEB for approval of our abandonment plan. Abandonment must be consistent with the terms of the easement agreement with the landowner. The NEB Act requires Enbridge to consult with landowners prior to any abandonment of a pipeline, to provide information on our plans, respond to questions and understand any concerns.
What is the 30-metre safety zone?
For all of the pipelines it regulates, including ours, the National Energy Board restricts certain activities on, under or over a pipeline and within 30 metres on each side of the pipeline right-of-way. This safety zone protects people and the environment by preventing damage to the pipeline. Anyone who wants to conduct excavation activities within the safety zone using power-operated equipment or explosives, for instance, are required to work with Enbridge to ensure that their plans meet all safety requirements.
How deep are Enbridge’s pipelines buried?
At the time of construction, all of Enbridge's pipelines are buried to a depth that meet, and in many cases, exceed applicable legal regulations. For example, the Canadian Standards Association's minimum depth of soil coverage requirement is 0.6 metres (24 inches), but we're proposing a minimum soil coverage depth of 0.9 metres (36 inches) for our new pipeline projects. Over time, wind and water may erode some of the surface cover of a pipeline. In those cases, Enbridge takes responsibility to address and remediate loss of cover. This may include adding fill or lowering the pipeline. We regularly monitor the depth of cover of our pipeline. However, if you have concerns about changes to the depth of cover of a pipeline on your property, please let your local Enbridge representative know immediately.
Do I need special permission to drive on top of the right-of-way with my tractor, combine or other farm machinery?
You may need special permission depending on the type of vehicle you want to drive across the right-of-way
. Machinery that is typical to standard farming operations can cross a right-of-way at any time and does not require any advance approval from Enbridge. However, to prevent damage to the pipeline and to protect the public and the environment, anyone who wants to move heavier vehicles or machinery on a right-of-way, or move equipment that could reduce the depth of cover over a pipeline, must contact Enbridge
for permission. We will respond to your request as quickly as possible.
How does Enbridge prevent incidents involving third parties working near its pipelines?
We have a number of processes in place to prevent and minimize accidents. This includes active involvement in Call Before You Dig
programs and pipeline markers at road, railway and water crossings, near populated areas and near construction sites. By law, contractors are required to give notice of their activities to Enbridge so that our representatives can be available on-site. Every hour of every day, Enbridge monitors our pipelines by computer and conducts regular aerial and ground inspections.
What procedures does Enbridge have in place to prevent pipeline leaks?
The safety and reliability of our pipeline system is our highest priority. Regardless of age, our pipelines are safe. Enbridge uses advanced leak detection and prevention technologies. We also use proven construction practices and are committed to regular and proactive pipeline monitoring and maintenance.
On very rare occasions, pipelines do leak. Enbridge has a very strong, reliable and respected process in place to respond to a leak so that it is immediately stopped. Our people travel to the site of the leak to inspect the damage and work with the landowner. We take responsibility for all reclamation and remediation necessary to restore any damaged land to its pre-leak condition, and will work swiftly to complete repairs with minimal disruption and interference to the landowner.
As well, like any other individual or corporate citizen in Canada, Enbridge must abide by environmental laws.
What steps does Enbridge take if it has to perform maintenance or a repair dig?
Maintenance or repair digs are sometimes needed to inspect sections of our pipelines, either to address an issue that has arisen, or as part of our ongoing monitoring of pipeline integrity.
If we need to conduct a maintenance dig on your land, we will:
- Notify you in writing and then follow up by phone or in person to explain the nature and timing of the project, as well as to arrange to cross your property to access the right-of-way.
- Make every reasonable effort to reduce disruption to you and the land.
- Keep you informed about progress and any adjustments required to the size or duration of the dig.
- Return the land to the standard it was before the dig commenced by replacing soil removed from the pipeline area or by remediating the area, if required.
- Pay compensation for damages that are caused as a result of our dig.
What compensation will I receive for new construction and/or easements related to your expansion projects?
Enbridge has been dealing amicably with its landowners for more than 60 years. We pay fair compensation, in-line with industry standards and applicable federal, state and provincial regulations. By law, compensation is a matter between the landowner and the pipeline company. We discuss compensation with each landowner along any proposed pipeline route.
Compensation to landowners for rights-of-way is based on factors including:
- market value of the land
- pattern of dealings
- payment terms
- loss of use
- adverse affects
- nuisance and inconvenience
- damage to land
What about compensation for damages and loss of use of my land during construction?
By law, Enbridge is responsible to landowners for all damages suffered directly as a result of its operations. To that end, we do our best to protect your land during construction. As an industry leader in pipeline construction and environmental mitigation, we use approved and proven construction and land restoration techniques to:
- prevent soil erosion
- protect agricultural topsoil
- repair agricultural drain tiles and irrigation systems
- restore disturbed lands
- alleviate soil compaction
With respect to compensation, we handle all cases on an individual basis to arrive at a fair and mutually agreeable solution.
My crop on the right-of-way doesn't produce as well as the crop on the rest of the field. Will Enbridge provide compensation for crop loss?
Yes. Please let us know if you are concerned about this matter. Enbridge compensates landowners for damages directly related to the operation of our pipeline, including loss of crop production. We do this on a case-by-case basis, so it’s critical for you to contact us
about your concern before you harvest your crop. We need to be able to take a look at, and assess, the crop performance on the right-of-way.
What is the current status of your expansion plans? How can I find out if these projects will affect me?
Detailed information and status updates on Enbridge’s expansion projects are available on our website
. You can also access our complete regulatory applications on the National Energy Board’s website. If we are proposing work that may cross your land, you can expect to hear from us by mail and personal contact. We may also hold open houses and community meetings as projects move forward. If you have a question, we want to hear from you - please get in touch with us
directly. During any construction activities, Enbridge takes all reasonable steps to prevent disruption and interference to landowners.
How does Enbridge contribute to communities along the right-of-way?
We aim to be a responsible and contributing member of the communities where we operate. While working closely with individuals who own or occupy the land through which our pipelines run, we also make direct property tax and other economic contributions to the broader communities. Our Community Investment program
is designed to benefit neighbouring communities within 20 kilometres of the pipeline right-of-way. We work with local residents to determine the needs of the community and identify how we can contribute in a way that provides benefits to the greatest number of people.