The Canadian Press is reporting that an independent study of the Energy East pipeline indicates that leaks as large as 2.6 million litres per day could go undetected. The study was commissioned by the MRC d’Autray- a municipal government in Quebec that will be crossed by TransCanada’s proposed pipeline. The SCADA leak detection system used by TransCanada cannot detect leaks less than 1.5% of daily volume. Energy East would be the largest pipeline in North America with a daily volume of 170 million litres- nearly all of which would be destined for export.
In a worst case scenario, a leak could gush millions of litres per day for many days without being detected by TransCanada’s computers. With luck, one of their biweekly aerial surveillance flights might detect it (if the timing is right).
The study also raised concerns that the diluted bitumen TransCanada plans to pump through the pipeline is highly toxic and extremely difficult to clean up once spilled.