The Minell pipeline is a transmission pressure natural gas pipeline owned by Manitoba Hydro. The pipeline starts near Moosomin, Saskatchewan, travels to the Saskatchewan–Manitoba border, then north to Russell, Manitoba.
Transmission pressure pipelines are used to transport large quantities of natural gas. Compressor stations are built every 80 to 160 kilometres along the transmission pipeline, allowing pressure to be increased as needed to keep the gas moving.
Canada Energy Regulator
The Minell pipeline is regulated federally by the Canada Energy Regulator (CER). CER establishes and enforces the rules and regulations governing activity types permitted within the Minell pipeline’s prescribed area – an area 30 metres on either side of the pipeline’s centerline. The right-of-way (ROW) falls within the prescribed area and can vary in size.
Manitoba Hydro has placed permanent pipeline markers along the Minell pipeline to show its approximate location at roads, railways, and other sites.
Following CER regulations helps prevent contact with and damage to the pipeline. This also promotes the safety of everyone working and living near the pipeline and protects the surrounding environment. These regulations must be strictly observed by both landowners and Manitoba Hydro when working near and within the prescribed area.
If a person or company does not comply with CER’s regulatory requirements, CER may take enforcement actions such as monetary penalties or suspension of activities to ensure compliance.
Agricultural and working activities in the ROW
The closer your activity is to the ROW, the greater the risk of coming in contact with the pipeline. CER regulations require that before you perform certain activities within the pipeline’s ROW, you must have Manitoba Hydro’s written authorization.
Activities requiring written authorization include, but are not limited to:
- any activity that digs 30 cm or deeper in the prescribed area and the ROW;
- any activity resulting in a reduction or removal of the earth cover (depth of soil) over the pipeline;
- building anything (for example, shed or fence);
- cultivation to a depth of 45 cm or deeper (unless Manitoba Hydro notifies you that it is unsafe to do so in certain areas);
- driving vehicles or mobile equipment over a pipeline (unless it is for low-risk agricultural purposes such as planting or disking, or on a public roadway);
- placing or storing anything on the ROW such as a berm, wood pile, or a parked vehicle.
Cultivation refers to preparing land for producing crops. Unless otherwise advised by Manitoba Hydro, you may perform shallow cultivation such as disking, plowing, harrowing, and pasturing without Manitoba Hydro’s written authorization. This does not include activities such digging or building on the ROW or prescribed area.
Should any of these activities result in a reduction or removal of the earth cover over the pipeline, you must have Manitoba Hydro’s written authorization before performing the activity.
Agricultural and working activities in the prescribed area
CER has established regulations over activities (agricultural and otherwise) that may be performed in the prescribed area. CER regulations require that before you perform certain activities such as driving across the pipeline, constructing a facility, or other work that can result in a ground disturbance, you must have Manitoba Hydro’s written authorization.
Ground disturbance restrictions
A ground disturbance is any activity that moves or penetrates the ground. Such activities can increase the probability of contact and damage to the pipeline. CER regulations recognize a ground disturbance as an activity within the prescribed area that involves any of the following:
- agricultural cultivation to depths of 45 cm or deeper below the surface of the ground;
- any activity, other than cultivation, to a depth of 30 cm or deeper (for example, digging);
- any activity resulting in a reduction or removal of the earth cover over the pipeline, such as, but not limited to:
- building a driveway, private road, lane, or parking lot or pad;
- building fences, driving posts, or drilling holes with an auger;
- building structures such as a pool, retaining wall, shed, or garage;
- clearing land, felling trees, stump removal, or planting or removing trees;
- crossing buried pipelines with heavy vehicles off a roadway;
- digging or excavating;
- deep tillage, trenching, or quarrying;
- ditching or ditch clearing;
- drain tiling;
- installing or maintaining overhead lines;
- installing a manure pit;
- land levelling, grading, or road projects;
- laser levelling;
- pile driving, post pounding, or installing bollards;
- sodding or topsoil stripping.
You must not use mechanical excavation that results in a ground disturbance within 3 metres of the pipeline unless you follow the measures in the regulations.
The Minell pipeline is buried at a depth to prevent damage from normal agricultural activities (see cultivation restrictions above).
CER’s Agricultural Activities Near Pipelines requires that if your work or activity involves a ground disturbance you must request a line locate and receive Manitoba Hydro’s written authorization. This ensures you can safely perform your requested activity and that all pipeline locations are marked before you start the activity. Manitoba Hydro performs line locates at no cost to the landowner.
Moving vehicles and equipment across the pipeline
Manitoba Hydro’s authorization for vehicle crossings is usually not required if the crossing is on a public roadway.
If not on a public roadway, moving vehicles or equipment over the pipeline can increase the stresses on the pipe. Such activities can reduce or remove earth cover over the pipeline and increase the odds that your equipment may damage the pipeline.
Driving with narrow tires or old equipment – especially in damp conditions – may cause ruts. Ruts 30 cm or deeper in the prescribed area are considered a ground disturbance. You must contact Manitoba Hydro before moving a vehicle or equipment if there is a risk of ruts.
Moving a vehicle or equipment across a pipeline, including over the ROW, is prohibited by CER unless:
- it is for low-risk agricultural purposes such as planting or disking;
- you have received Manitoba Hydro’s written authorization;
- it is within the travelled portion of a highway or public roadway.
Manitoba Hydro will consider all factors before authorizing the driving or moving of equipment over the pipeline. Such factors include, but are not limited to:
- creation of pressures on the pipe by static and dynamic loads;
- depth of earth cover above the pipeline;
- frequency of crossing activities;
- ground conditions;
- operating stresses experienced by the pipe;
- soil type;
- type of pipe;
- type and size of your equipment.
Manitoba Hydro may also consider the following to determine if the equipment can be used safely on the ROW and in the prescribed area:
- gross vehicle weight rating (GVW);
- number of axles;
- tire pressure or ground pressure;
- vehicle class.
Only Manitoba Hydro can assess this information and instruct how and where your vehicles and equipment can safely cross. Landowners should regularly review and confirm with Manitoba Hydro where you, your staff, and contractors can cross the pipeline.
Agricultural vehicles and equipment in the prescribed area
Most conventional agricultural equipment and vehicles can operate normally in low-risk areas of the prescribed area. Manitoba Hydro’s authorization for vehicle crossings is not usually required if the crossing is on a public roadway but some larger equipment and vehicles may be too heavy. The maximum load depends on both the axle weight and the tire pressure or ground pressure.
Manitoba Hydro will assist you in determining the permitted maximum load to ensure you are not violating CER regulations. Heavy loads such as water, liquid fertilizer, manure, or grain may be a risk to the pipeline.
You must have Manitoba Hydro’s written authorization before operating heavy vehicles or equipment over the Minell pipeline if:
- the vehicles or equipment do not meet requirements for axle weight, tire pressure, or ground pressure;
- you have been notified by Manitoba Hydro that the point of crossing at a location could impair the pipeline’s safety or security.
If the vehicle crossing is not for an agricultural activity, you must have written authorization from Manitoba Hydro before crossing the ROW.
CER regulations also require that certain types of equipment have Manitoba Hydro’s written authorization before operating in the prescribed area including, but not limited to:
- augers and trenchers;
- backhoe and grader;
- deep tillage/rippers and tiling equipment;
- fence post pounders;
- grain/haul trucks, super B trains, and trailers carrying heavy loads;
- laser leveler;
- skid steer;
- tree spade.
Constructing a facility
Prior to constructing any facility across, on, along, or under the prescribed area and ROW, you must:
- receive Manitoba Hydro’s written authorization to perform the activity;
- make a line locate request with Manitoba Hydro;
- follow all safety information provided by Manitoba Hydro.
Examples of facilities can include, but are not limited to:
- a built or installed structure (for example, a fence, concrete conduit structure, swimming pool, retaining wall, shed, rink, shed, gazebo, sign, tree, or any structure on the ROW);
- a drainage or irrigation system, including dykes, ditches, and culverts;
- a highway, private road, lane, parking lot, walkway;
- a pipe (for example, water main, sewer, gas line, oil line);
- a railway;
- a telecommunications line or power line;
- any vehicle parked on the ROW (for example, cars, boats, trailers, RVs, buses).
It is the responsibility of the person performing the ground disturbance in the prescribed area or ROW to ensure that a line locate request has been made. All buried facilities must be identified, and their locations marked, before any work or activity commences.
Working safely around the pipeline
For more information about working safely around the Minell pipeline, call us toll-free at 1-888-624-9376.
To apply for written authorization for your construction or excavation project, complete our online natural gas project review.
Learn more about CER regulations governing activities within the Minell pipeline’s prescribed area and ROW:
- Pipeline Damage Prevention Regulations - Authorizations (SOR/2016-124);
- Agricultural Activities Near Pipelines;
- Agricultural vehicles and equipment in the prescribed area;
- Guidance Notes – Canadian Energy Regulator Regulations for Pipeline Damage Prevention.
Know what’s below
As well as federally regulated pipelines, there may be provincially and locally regulated facilities such as pipelines and cables in your work area. These facilities may include oil and gas field gathering pipes, gas distribution systems, fibre optic telecommunication cables, water and sewer lines, and electrical cables.
Before you start any activity, contact Manitoba and Saskatchewan line locate services:
For emergency line locate requests, call both utilities at their toll-free numbers:
- Manitoba Hydro at 1-800-940-3447.
- SaskPower at 1-866-828-4888.