The Imperial Oil Waterdown to Finch Project was a 63 km, 12-in. NPS proactive replacement of the Sarnia Products Pipeline (SPPL) from the Waterdown pump station in rural Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, to the storage facility in Toronto’s North York area.
Construction was executed from November 2020 through to mechanical completion in February 2022, with the new line in-service in April 2022.
The pipeline was required to cross through six major municipalities, including Hamilton, Burlington, Milton, Oakville, Mississauga and Toronto, as well as seven major freeways and six major river valley connections
The total project encompassed a trenchless program that involved the completion of 35 horizontal directional drills (HDD) and 35 other trenchless drills, including numerous track and guided bores. All in, 48 percent of the project was completed by trenchless drilling, a total of 27.8 km. These drills included the notable Hidden Lake HDD at 3.5 km and the Centennial Park HDD at nearly 2.4 km. Other complex drill crossings included some of Canada’s busiest 400-series highways and ecologically significant waterways, including the Humber River, Bronte Creek and two drills across East and West 16 Mile Creek.
During peak construction activity there were seven fully crewed HDD rigs active on the project as well as one track-bore or other guided-bore rig. Each rig and crew faced unique challenges. Aside from management of different geological formations and other traditional technical issues, being in a populated urban area meant that the crews also had to use noise and light abatement, access restrictions and smaller footprints than would normally be expected.
Equally important were the supporting crews which had world-class safety and quality results that facilitated timely completion of the project.