Environmental Management Systems


We take a systems-based approach to environmental protection.

We recognize that protecting our natural resources, enhancing biodiversity and supporting conservation are key to a sustainable environment, and we integrate these concepts into our business decision-making and daily operations.

In executing projects, we use leading construction practices and we are committed to identifying, mitigating and proactively managing any potential negative impacts to the environment. Enbridge has a long history of environmental stewardship, underpinned by adherence to established and evolving regulatory processes, as well as our own corporate policies and procedures. Spectra Energy brought a similar history and approach and our ongoing integration work, initiated in the first quarter of 2017, includes the review and harmonization of the two companies’ respective environmental management frameworks to ensure a consistent approach in planning, constructing and operating our vast network of energy delivery infrastructure.

4 performance objectives:

  • Enhancing our approach to environmental stewardship and protecting sensitive ecosystems
  • Responsibly managing our impacts on water and managing our water use
  • Responsibly managing our hazardous, non-hazardous and electronic waste
  • Investing in organizations that help us responsibly manage our impact on land and species

2017 Highlights

Sustainability Report - Environment Management

Management Approach

Maintaining an Integrated, Enterprise-wide Approach to Environmental Management

The governance of environmental risks and performance is guided by our Enterprise Risk Management Framework and our Safety Management System Framework. These two frameworks provide the tools, techniques and accountabilities for compliance and performance that our business segments use to effectively manage all of their risks and obligations for safeguarding people, property and the environment. Post our 2017 consolidation with Spectra Energy we also began development of an enterprise-wide management framework for environmental protection as one of the six mandatory pillars that provide the foundation for our Safety Management System. In addition, each of our business segments have their own Integrated Management System (IMS) and Environmental Protection Programs (EPP) that are custom designed to respond to the different requirements and complexities of their specific operations. The development and implementation of these frameworks is informed by industry-leading protocols, including, but not limited to, ISO 14001.

2017 Performance

Enhancing Our Approach to Environmental Stewardship and Protecting Sensitive Ecosystems

It is critically important for us that we protect and conserve environmentally sensitive areas and areas of high biodiversity, and that we prioritize these activities in our project planning, construction and operations.Our approach includes working with local and Indigenous communities and other stakeholders, as well as investing in projects and initiatives that promote environmental values and priorities that are important to and create benefits for the communities in which we operate.

We implement a variety of activities to preserve biodiversity. Some of these are related to regulatory requirements and others are voluntary. Before proposing pipeline routes and determining facility locations, we:

  • conduct environmental and cultural assessments to identify sensitive areas, including protected species and habitats;
  • avoid environmentally or culturally sensitive areas when practical and when alternative routes are feasible;
  • mitigate our impact by restoring pipeline rights-of-way and implementing the recommendations of environmental assessments and permitting agencies; and
  • support biodiversity conservation efforts, including beyond our operational footprint.

During facility and pipeline construction, we take care to limit our operational footprint and actively manage potential effects on the environment through a variety of measures, including:

  • whenever practical, using horizontal directional drilling (HDD) technology, which involves pulling pipe through a drilled borehole, to install pipelines beneath large rivers, waterbodies or other sensitive crossings such as highways;
  • working closely and continuously with regulatory agencies and complying with all environmental requirements; and
  • using existing access routes to and from construction sites, minimizing temporary workspace and limiting ground disturbance.

Once pipelines and facilities are in place, we work to maintain the pipeline right-of-way in a manner that balances safety requirements and environmental sensitivities.

Land Stewardship: We have robust operating practices that go beyond the construction phase of our projects. We mitigate our impact by restoring pipeline rights-of-way and implementing the recommendations included in our impact assessments and made by permitting agencies. For example, we:

  • perform regular monitoring of wetland and watercourse-crossing sites that could be impacted during construction so they are fully restored to their previous function and value;
  • work with landowners and regulatory agencies to address the spread of invasive species that threaten valuable native species and natural plant and animal diversity; and
  • restore pipeline rights-of-way through rural areas so that agricultural uses such as pastures and cultivated crops can resume.

When managing vegetation at our facilities and on our pipeline rights-of-way, we use the most appropriate methods of keeping them clear for pipeline integrity and safety inspections. We design our weed control and revegetation activities to minimize the encroachment of invasive species, mitigate erosion issues and enhance biodiversity. In conducting this work, we take into account the visible results and perceived impacts on landowners and communities.

Assessment of B.C. Watercourses

Sensitive Habitats and Species at Risk: All of our business segments comply with federal, provincial and state requirements. In Canada, these requirements include the federal Species at Risk Act, which aims to protect flora and fauna and conserve biological diversity. Various strategies are used by our business segments to manage the impact of our projects and operations to sensitive habitats and wildlife in jurisdictions in which we operate. Examples of measures that were implemented in 2017 include:

Liquids Pipelines

  • Collaboration with the Canadian federal and provincial governments to develop and implement effective mitigation plans to help protect and recover boreal caribou populations.

Gas Transmission

  • Caribou habitat restoration plans on specific pipeline projects.

Utilities & Power Operations

  • Union Gas’s partnership with Conservation Halton in Ontario to remove two existing dams to promote the upstream movement of fish, including endangered species such as the Silver Shiner.
  • A bird and bat conservation strategy at each Enbridge-managed wind farm to mitigate impacts to avian wildlife
Two B.C. Pipeline Projects Support Endangered Caribou Herd

Supporting Technology and Research: Through our membership in industry associations, we work to continually improve pipeline safety standards, industry best practices and recommended approaches in support of improved environmental management and protection. We also engage with other organizations on specific topics, for example with the Nature Conservancy on steep-slope construction best practices in the U.S.

Enbridge is a member with the Wildlife Habitat Council (WHC)

Responsibly managing our impacts on water and managing our water use

We recognize the ecological, cultural and social significance of water. This informs the way we plan, build and operate our pipelines and facilities and how we manage our water use.

We manage and mitigate our impacts on water in many ways:

Stakeholder Engagement and Outreach: At a local level, we regularly engage with stakeholders—including customers, local communities, environmental groups, water users, regulators, water management authorities and suppliers—and with Indigenous individuals and communities to provide awareness around the programs we have in place to maintain the fitness and reliability of our systems, and to address concerns about the potential impacts of spills on water quality.

We engage with regulators on water management issues through a number of industry associations, including: through CEPA’s Integrity First Program to develop and implement the Pipeline Associate Watercourse Crossing (5th Edition); the Canadian Gas Association (CGA); and the Alberta Association for Conservation Offsets (AACO), which deals with wetlands. We also maintain direct contact with regulators at various jurisdictional levels to facilitate discussions on specific projects or concerns. We take a proactive approach with regulators by communicating directly with them on project specifics to identify regulatory requirements.

By working with these individuals and groups to share information and understand their concerns, we are able to incorporate more effective treatment measures into our project management and operations, while also supporting the efficiency of regulatory reviews.

Managing Our Water Use

While water is critical to the energy industry of which we are a part (for example, both upstream oil production and downstream oil refining may require large volumes of water), because we are primarily a transporter and deliverer of energy, water is not a key input to most of our operations. However, we do use water for: hydrostatically testing the integrity of existing and new pipelines and related equipment prior to operation; cooling and processing in natural gas processing facilities; and dissolution of subsurface salt formations to create natural gas storage caverns.

Hydrostatic testing: We carefully manage our direct consumption and disposal of the water we use for testing the integrity of our pipeline systems. For a detailed description of the hydrostatic testing process, please refer to the Hydrostatic testing Public Awareness page.. Our operations and engineering groups measure and track the water we use for hydrostatic pressure testing for most of our larger projects and have water management procedures in place to ensure water quality prior to discharging it back to its source. Water is tracked based on the following categories: total volumes withdrawn and discharged; destination of discharged water; and volume by treatment method.

Water Use Volumes for Hydrostatic Pressure Testing, by Business Segment (megaliter; ML)

2015 2016 20172
Liquids Pipelines 758 221.5 268.51
Gas Transportation and Midstream 4.4 3.3 429.3
Utilities and Power Operations Enbridge Gas Distribution 0.3 0.5 0
Union Gas N/A N/A 29.3
Total 762.7 225.3 704.8

1 Includes water use volumes from both Liquids Pipelines (including Express-Platte) and the Major Projects Group.
2 2017 reflects Spectra Energy & Enbridge assets as a combined company.

Managing Our Hazardous and Non-hazardous Waste

We are committed to waste minimization, source reduction and recycling―approaches that offer both environmental and economic benefits. For example, on our construction projects we look for opportunities to reuse or recycle construction materials; and property managers at our corporate and other office locations have implemented waste recycling programs.

Enbridge currently tracks and reports waste volumes for some, but not all, regulatory jurisdictions. In 2014 Enbridge began reporting the estimated total weight of hazardous and non-hazardous waste-by disposal method – of our GD business segment. Waste volumes are currently being tracked and reported by both GTM and Union Gas for 2017. Moving forward with the continued integration Enbridge will endeavor to work towards expansion of the current waste management processes to integrate other BU’s and report on their waste volumes in subsequent Sustainability reports.

Waste Generation and Recycling by Business Segment, Metric Tons1

2015 2016 2017
Gas Transmission and Midstream2
Hazardous Waste 3,318 4,538 12,613
Non-hazardous Waste 20,256 30,227 29,583
Recycled 27,241 25,029 39,897
Utilities and Power Operations
Union Gas Hazardous Waste 442 597 1,026
Non-hazardous Waste 604 587 637
Recycled 533 709 446
Total 23,574 61,687 83,756

1 Waste Generation and Recycling volumes are only available for assets acquired through combination with Spectra Energy.
2 Includes both U.S. and Canadian operations.

Environmental Considerations in our Supply Chain

To reduce impacts and create additional benefits, we incorporate environmental considerations into our supply chain management (SCM) system through our procurement processes. This includes the disposal and recycling of materials such as unused pipe, scrap metal and obsolete electronics. In 2017, SCM’s disposal of scrap and unused pipe included the:

  • recycling of 3,000 tonnes of scrap metal by Union Gas;
  • recycling of 700 tonnes of scrap metal by LP’s U.S. operations;
  • recycling of 1,471 tonnes of scrap metal by GTM’s Canadian operations; and
  • the sale of 966 kilometers of pipe (24-inch and 30-inch diameter) following the cancellation of a pipeline project. 

Every Request for Proposal (RFP) that our SCM function issues on behalf of our natural gas utilities to vehicle manufacturers requires that the supplier provide vehicles that are either Natural Gas Vehicle (NGV) ready or that can be easily converted. They are also converting medium-duty trucks, which normally operate on diesel fuel, to run on natural gas. Moreover, hybrid systems are routinely installed that enable work trucks to operate alternating current (AC) and direct current (DC) power tools and equipment from an alternative power source, eliminating the need to have the vehicle engine running. Enbridge Gas Distribution has a total fleet of 804 vehicles. Of these, 600 vehicles, including 13 medium-duty trucks, have been converted to operate on Compressed Natural Gas (CNG). When appropriate, Union Gas purchases trucks that are equipped with CNG-ready engines and are then modified to run on either CNG or gasoline when the utility body is installed. Union Gas currently has a total of 26 CNG vehicles, with an additional 13 vehicles to be delivered in 2018. This will result in five percent of Union Gas’s fleet vehicles running on CNG.

Managing Our Electronic Waste

Enbridge has established processes for the disposal of obsolete and unneeded electronics—including laptops, desktop computers and monitors—in a safe and ecologically responsible manner. Spectra Energy had similar programs; as part of integration, we are working to harmonize the two systems into a single, enterprise-wide process.

Technology Waste Diverted from Landfill by Business Segment

Business Segment (metric tons) 2015 2016 2017
Liquids Pipelines
NA 18.38 10.76
Gas Transmission & Midstream
NA 12.7 19.87
Utilities and Power Operations
EGD NA 6.75 1.35
Union Gas NA NA 6.96
Corporate Services
NA 5.24 9.84
Total NA 43.07 48.78

*Total for 2016 does not include Union Gas

Investing in Organizations that Help Us Responsibly Manage Our Impact on Land and Species

Through our community investments, we support initiatives that promote environmental stewardship, conservation, habitat remediation and environmental education. For example, we established a three-year, $3-million Ecofootprint Grant Program to support environmental restoration and improvement efforts in the communities crossed by our Line 3 Replacement project in North Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Eligible applicants are non-profit 501(c) 3 organizations, Native American tribes, state government agencies, local governments and post-secondary academic institutions. For more information on our community environmental initiatives, please see the Community Investments section of this report.

2015 2016 2017
Nearly $1 million in Ecofootprint grants to 12 groups in the three states. Nearly $1 million in Ecofootprint grants to 15 groups in the three states. More than $1.15 million to 17 environmental initiatives across three states.

We also support conservation and ecological preservation efforts in the larger community through conservation partnerships with the Wildlife Habitat Council and grants to National Fish and Wildlife Foundation organizations such as the Corporate Wetlands Restoration Partnership (CWRP).


Brucedale Conservation

The invasive plant, phragmites australis, could be compared to the impenetrable hedge that confined Sleeping Beauty's sleeping kingdom.  Literally translated to hedge fence or hedge row from Latin, the plant forms an impermeable barrier with its cane-like shoots, which grow two to four meters high at a destiny of around 200 stems per square metre. It rapidly takes over an area, and becomes difficult to control, even trapping small animals in its stems.

The plant has been damaging the Lake Huron watershed—barring public access to the waterfront, and damaging native animal and plant populations—since the early 2000s and the Brucedale Conservation Area (BCA), which is owned by the Saugeen Valley Conservation Authority (SVCA), has been trying to take back land and coastal wetlands that the plant has taken over.

The Lake Huron Centre for Coastal Conservation (LHCCC)  in Goderich, Ontario was the first to raise the alarm about the plant and worked with Enbridge to undertake a five-year partnership worth $100,000, that will enable the Coastal Centre to manage the phragmites in the Brucedale Conservation Area.

As part of that attempt to control the phragmites australis, the Brucedale Conservation Area recently had a visit from one of two Swedish-made amphibious vehicles in Canada, and its four-person crew to uproot a significant portion of the invasive reed. Organized by the LHCC, the infested area received four days of cutting using the machine.

The area was first surveyed for wildlife, and in some areas left uncut if it there was a potential impact. For example, a heron nesting area was left uncut to prevent impacting the herons. The machine moves slowly so there is no environmental damage with the weed cutter nor does it harm wildlife.

The amphibious vehicle already completed work in Lambton Shores, Manitoulin Island and will be doing work in Oliphant for the Bruce Peninsula Biosphere Association in the coming weeks, before moving to Kettle and Stoney Point and likely Long Point. The LHCC also secured funding from the National Wetland Conservation Fund which allowed the BCA in partnership with the Municipality of Kincardine to cut the entire bay in front of the Brucedale Conservation Area.

Now that the plant is removed, everyone is able to enjoy the shoreline; students and members of the community learned how to identify and remove the invasive plant at lunch and learns hosted by Enbridge and LHCCC; and the native species have their homes back.

Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority

For over a decade, Union Gas and the Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority (LTVCA) in Ontario have been partners in environmental education, conservation and restoration. LTVCA’s core values of ‘respect, integrity, commitment, objectivity and collaborative’ are strongly aligned with those of Union Gas and Enbridge. Over the last 10 years, Union Gas has supported numerous LTVCA projects and programs—from biodiversity education to conservation and restoration projects.

In 2017, Union Gas supported the development of the Walter Devereux Conservation Area into a 32-hectare (80-acre) farm-demonstration site. “Visitors can walk the 2.5-kilometer trail to learn about best management practices on their farms, including cover crops, soil management, windbreaks, forest products, selective harvesting, bio fuel and uses for tall grass prairie,” explained Randall Van Wagner, LTVCA’s Manager of Conservation Lands and Services.

In addition to financial support, Union Gas employees, retirees, family and friends have invested hours of ‘sweat equity ‘in environmentally focused community projects. Through the Helping Hands in Action program, Union Gas volunteers planted trees and a prairie garden at the LTVCA’s C.M. Wilson Conservation Area to help restore the area and to showcase nature and wildlife for the local community.


A Conversation with Margaret O’Gorman, President, Wildlife Habitat Council

Margaret O'Gorman

What are the benefits of the partnership between the Wildlife Habitat Council (WHC) and Enbridge?

For 30 years, WHC has been working at the intersection of business and nature. We help leading companies like Enbridge create conservation programs on their properties that benefit the environment and surrounding communities. Enbridge is an ideal partner to expand the WHC model of corporate conservation in the U.S. and Canada, and increase the collective positive environmental outcomes our members around the world actively seek.

It’s exciting to be part of Enbridge’s commitment to environmental stewardship. From the c-suite to the site level, this initiative was developed to balance its environmental commitment with corporate sustainability goals, risk reduction, employee engagement and community values. We’re proud to partner with Enbridge to empower and encourage their employee volunteers to develop and manage WHC Conservation Certification® programs that Enbridge implements in local communities that provide ecological benefit within an operational and budgetary context. This integrated approach—across disciplines, operations and communities—contributes to an overall positive outcome for species and habitat.

How has the WHC worked with Enbridge to advance the company’s commitment to environmental stewardship?

Enbridge understands that for this type of partnership to thrive, it must be more than a typical, arms-length philanthropic relationship. To have longevity—and real, meaningful impact—our partnership must be ready to adapt to meet the changing needs of business. To that effect, Enbridge and WHC engaged in regular strategy sessions throughout 2017 that helped us understand the Enbridge culture and business, and allowed us to build important relationships within the company.

Together, we’ve worked to develop a strategic approach to environmental stewardship with a specific focus on ensuring conservation is accessible across all types of operations. What’s visionary about what Enbridge is doing is that they realize this isn’t possible with a cookie-cutter approach. Enbridge’s environmental stewardship is based upon a global approach that benefits the company, employees and community as a whole—not just one project or one program, but all of them together. That collective approach is one of the reasons why the program has been successful.

One of the highlights for Enbridge in 2017 was the Pollinator initiative that we partnered with you on for our NEXUS project. Why do you think that initiative was particularly successful?

As part of the conversation around the NEXUS project, the NEXUS project team and the WHC developed an initiative to directly connect with community members and other stakeholders to create positive impacts for the environment—right in their backyards. 

Five accessible locations on the proposed pipeline were chosen for habitat and species enhancement projects and were informed by the needs of the communities. We identified local partners, created tactics that exceeded compliance requirements, and aligned with the National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators, as well as state wildlife action plans.

We partnered with local parks at the locations to host Pollinator Week events and invited day-camp children for planting and pollinator education. Thousands of native plants were installed to improve habitat for pollinators and other wildlife, as well as to improve the overall appearance.

Through these activities, we could effectively inject community value into the dialogue, and open positive relations between NEXUS and community stakeholders, securing social license to operate and creating a more collaborative working relationship.

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