Enbridge Mackenzie River Water Quality (WQ) Modelling

RPS was contracted to provide a quantitative assessment of potential release scenarios to determine the downstream movement and behavior of drilling fluids within the Mackenzie River for the horizontal directional drill (HDD) crossing of the Enbridge Line 21 Segment Replacement Project in the Northwest Territories. The pipeline crossing is approximately 10 km upstream (to the east) of the Village of Fort Simpson freshwater intake and upstream of the confluence with the Liard River. The primary investigation is the potential for the entrainment of released drilling fluid into the Fort Simpson fresh water intake. Additional concerns resulting from an inadvertent return include impacts to fish and fish habitat.

Sediment transport modeling was then conducted for 2 load rates, at 3 sites along the HDD crossing, for 3 river discharge conditions. Each of the 18 model runs provided a 3-dimensional prediction of sediment concentrations through time. An analysis at the drinking water intake provided the range of concentrations to be expected and the associated timing.

Timeline

  • 2017

    Start date

  • 2017

    In June 2017, RPS identified the scenario matrix and received model inputs. 

  • 2017

    In July 2017, RPS completed the Technical Data Report entitled “Sediment Transport Modelling of a Hypothetical Drilling Mud Frac Out in the Mackenzie River.”

  • 2017

    Completion date was August 2017.

1 /04
2017

Start date

2017

In June 2017, RPS identified the scenario matrix and received model inputs. 

2017

In July 2017, RPS completed the Technical Data Report entitled “Sediment Transport Modelling of a Hypothetical Drilling Mud Frac Out in the Mackenzie River.”

2017

Completion date was August 2017.

Key Details

Project name

Enbridge Mackenzie River Water Quality (WQ) Modelling

Client

Enbridge, Inc.

Location

  • Fort Simpson, Northwest Territories, Canada 

Sectors

  • Water management
  • Oil and gas
  • Power and gas networks

Challenge

The crossing would be constructed using Horizontal Directional Drilled (HDD) technology. In the drilling phase of construction, a drilling fluid composed of a number of non-hazardous constituents and bentonite would be used to lubricate the drill bit and carry drill cuttings back out the bore hole. RPS was tasked with modelling an uncontrolled release (i.e. “frac-out”) of the drilling fluid into the river. The amount of time and potential concentrations of bentonite at the Fort Simpson drinking water intake were assessed under the range of site-specific and season-specific conditions. 

Enbridge River 1 (NAM).jpg

Solution

RPS used two modeling systems to bound the range of predicted downstream movement and behavior of bentonite in the Mackenzie River. The BFHYDRO boundary conforming, general-curvilinear grid system hydrodynamic model was used to characterize the river flows. The SSFATE Lagrangian particle model, was used to simulate the downstream transport and fate of sediment particles (e.g. clay, silt, sand). A river discharge analysis was conducted to determine the range of conditions in the Mackenzie River and the 5th, 50th, and 95th percentile flow rates were used in the modeling. The inadvertent return load (in MT/hr) was determined along with the duration of the hypothetical release.  

Enbridge River 2 (NAM).jpg

Services Provided

Water services: 

  • Water and wastewater network modelling and asset management – model hydrologic network and potential routes for drilling fluid contamination of drinking water intakes and other susceptible resources at downstream locations 
  • Water quality modelling and monitoring – provide release modeling that identifies the extent, timing, and potential magnitude of water quality impacts from drilling fluid releases

Additional:

  • Numerical Modeling 
  • Environmental Impact Assessment

Environment:  

  • Ecology – identify potential effects to aquatic receptors 
  • Environmental Impact Assessment – Environmental Impact Statement  
  • Environmental permitting & compliance – Technical reports and numerical modeling completed to meet CEAA and NEB requirements 
  • Human Health Risk Assessment – Numerical modeling of water quality and the potential impact to drinking water intakes from a release of drilling fluids 
  • Hydrology / hydrogeology – hydrologic network and river modeling  
  • Spatial intelligence and GIS – Overlay of contaminant modeling of frac-outs and numerical modeling data onto drinking water intakes as well as geospatial depiction of environmental data 

Project Statistics

2
load sediment rates
3
representative sites along the HDD
3
river discharge conditions
18
scenarios to bound the potential effects