Inland Gas Upgrades: work resumes and benefits grow

Man turns a wheel on a pipe
/ Community, Natural gas

The Inland Gas Upgrades (IGU) project has entered its third year of construction. These upgrades will allow the use of in-line inspection tools to provide us with detailed information about the condition of our gas lines and help us proactively manage their maintenance.

Where we’re working in 2022

FortisBC employee tests a fitting in a gas line
In-line inspection tools travel inside gas lines to provide detailed information about the condition of the lines. 

The work we’re conducting this year will take place in 12 communities across the province. Work will include reducing bends or replacing fittings in gas lines. In some areas we’ll need to replace gas lines, while in other areas we’ll be regulating the pressure in our system.

  • In the Cariboo-Northern Interior, we’re returning to work in Prince George and Mackenzie and starting upgrades to our gas line in Quesnel. 
  • In the Kootenay region, we’re returning to work in Cranbrook, Skookumchuck, Sparwood and Elkford. 
  • We’re upgrading our gas line in Kenna Cartwright Park in Kamloops, as well as our line that extends from Salmon Arm through Enderby and Armstrong to the Township of Spallumcheen.

Sharing the benefits of our project with communities

Shane Gravelle visits an IGU project site
Shane Gravelle, Intern Safety Officer with ProActive Safety and Ktunaxa Nation member, visits an IGU project site.

In 2021, $38.5 million of IGU project spending went to 190 BC-based businesses. Approximately $14.2 million of that was spent in the seven communities where construction occurred—and 66 per cent of that was spent with vendors from 15 local Indigenous-owned or -affiliated businesses. 

Another way we support communities is to create opportunities to develop local and Indigenous talent. In Cranbrook, we contracted Indigenous-owned ProActive Safety & First Aid to provide safety services for our Kootenay worksites, then partnered with them to create a safety officer internship for a member of the Ktunaxa Nation. 

Our project teams are always on the lookout for ways to invest in, and give back to, local communities. Some of our community investment initiatives in 2021 included support for a community bus in Mackenzie, an outdoor venue in Elkford and forest trail maintenance in Cranbrook

Keeping the environment top of mind

The Thompson Rivers University team stands in Kenna Cartwright park
The Thompson Rivers University (TRU) team who led the invasive species study in Kenna Cartwright Park in Kamloops: (L to R) Dr. Lauchlan Fraser (Professor), Nate Dungey, (Master’s Student) and Dr. Morodoluwa Akin-Fajiye, (TRU Postdoctoral Fellow).

FortisBC is continually looking for ways to sustain, enhance and protect the environment. 

For our major projects, that begins in the planning stages. One of the first things we did on the IGU project is have environmental consultants perform field surveys on potential worksites to help locate ospreys and other wildlife, and make plans to protect them

Once construction was underway, we began to use Zero Emission Vacuum and Compression (ZEVAC) machines to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions one gas line procedure at a time. Once the IGU project is complete, there will be ongoing opportunities to use ZEVAC machines whenever we’re conducting gas line maintenance, in-line inspections and gas line upgrade work around BC.

We always restore our worksites to the way they were before, and look for ways to make them better. When it comes time to restore our IGU worksites in Kenna Cartwright Park in Kamloops, the findings from an invasive plant species study we supported will help us restore them with native plants that are resilient, and resistant to invasive species.

For more information about the IGU project, visit our project page.