Imperial Waterdown to Finch Project: Construction FAQs


Imperial Waterdown to Finch Project: Construction FAQs


Why is Imperial replacing the Sarnia Products Pipeline?

The Waterdown to Finch Project is a proactive replacement initiative that will modernize critical infrastructure, serve current and future demand from households and businesses, and support Ontario’s competitiveness. It will ensure continued safe and reliable fuels supply, including gasoline and diesel fuel that keeps people, goods and services moving throughout the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area.

Where is the pipeline located?

The Sarnia Products Pipeline and the Project footprint is largely located in an existing right-of-way on Hydro One managed lands as well as other private and public lands, going from our Waterdown pump station in rural Hamilton to our storage facility in Toronto’s North York area.

What is a right-of-way?

A right-of-way (ROW) is a type of easement granted or reserved over the land for transportation purposes, such as a highway, public footpath, rail transport, canal, as well as electrical transmission lines, and oil and gas pipelines.

If I have questions about how the Project will impact my property, whom can I speak to?

If you have any questions, please direct them to or 416-586-1915, and an Imperial representative will respond to you as soon as possible. Thank you for your collaboration and support as we progress this critical infrastructure project in Ontario.

Safety and environment

What safety measures does Imperial’s Sarnia Products Pipeline have in place?

Imperial’s safety performance is among the best in the Canadian energy industry. We attribute our record of safe and reliable operations to our preventative maintenance and proactive pipeline inspection programs. Imperial’s maintenance activities support safe and reliable operations. Our integrity management program includes rigorous testing and analysis that identifies areas of pipelines that require further inspection, repair and/or replacement.

How does COVID-19 impact Imperial’s activities?

To protect all our stakeholders including employees, contractors and the public, Imperial is continuing to follow all relevant public health measures and COVID-19 workplace guidelines along the entire Project footprint and throughout our operations across Canada.

How does Imperial ensure that it is protecting the environment?

We aim to minimize our impact on the environment and local communities by routing pipelines around sensitive areas and adopting construction practices that decrease disruptions. This includes protecting archeological and heritage resources. During the development phase, Imperial conducted a comprehensive planning process to evaluate and assess potential environmental impacts and proposed mitigation measures, including industry-leading construction techniques.

How will Imperial ensure that it is minimizing impacts to the local environment during construction?

Where feasible, construction has been designed to avoid direct impacts on sensitive environmental areas, including major watercourses and provincially significant wetlands. While some tree removal will be required to accommodate safe construction activities, our proactive mitigation measures combined with the Project being largely within an existing easement and hydro corridor, Imperial does not anticipate extensive tree removal.

Will Imperial restore areas where vegetation and trees are impacted during construction?

A reclamation plan will address revegetation after construction. Our goal is to restore the area to as close to pre-construction condition as possible and to minimize the pipeline’s impact to the surrounding area. While Imperial will encourage natural regeneration and revegetation as much as possible, the pipeline’s easement area will be left clear to ensure easy access for ongoing monitoring and in the case of an emergency.

Will Imperial be replanting trees that are removed during construction?

Trees will be replanted under the municipal by-law requirements or when it is requested by the impacted landowner. Imperial is working closely with Project right-of-way municipalities and affected landowners to establish the requirements and prepare tree planting plans, where applicable.

How will Imperial minimize disturbances to wildlife during construction?

Trenchless construction methods are proposed for all provincially significant wetland communities and other sensitive areas. We are also committed to minimizing the impact the Project has on local wildlife and their habitat. Imperial’s goal is to restore the area to as close to pre-construction condition as possible and to minimize the pipeline’s impact to the surrounding area.


Will there be excessive noise during construction?

There will be standard construction noise during the day, and while drilling will be taking place during the night, there will be little to no noise during that time. Imperial has all the necessary permits related to noise levels during construction. It is important to note that noise levels will vary depending on the area.

Can we expect an increase in dust nearby the Project?

As is the case with major construction projects, an increase in dust is expected. However, Imperial has several mitigative measures in place, including the use of wooden rig mats to minimize the amount of dust that can be stirred up and wetting down roadways as needed. Also, street sweepers are used to clean roads near the entrances to the construction sites.

Are vibrations to be expected during the drilling process?

No, Imperial does not anticipate vibrations to be felt during the drilling process. In deploying the horizontal directional drilling (HDD) method, the pipeline is placed deep beneath the ground, at a depth of approximately 30 metres.

Will there be any road or facility closures during construction?

Imperial remains committed to reducing local impacts and disruptions throughout construction. To accommodate safe construction activities, some facilities and a single road have been temporarily closed in the Toronto and Mississauga communities during the 2021 season. Please visit the Toronto and Mississauga community pages on our Interactive Map site for more details. Both community pages also house neighbourhood maps which provide a closer look at local streets being used as construction access routes.

What is a temporary workspace?

The temporary workspace enables us to safely manage the movement of necessary equipment and materials during the construction period.

When did construction begin and when will it be completed?

In December 2020, Imperial commenced construction activities on the western end of the Project, and it is anticipated that the line will be in service once the Project is complete by Winter 2022.

What will the construction process entail?

Imperial builds safety and integrity into its pipelines from the outset of construction. Our pipeline projects have rigorous material, design and construction standards that comply with or exceed all applicable government and industry standards. During the Waterdown to Finch Project, Imperial will use two construction techniques known as open cut construction and trenchless construction.

What is trenchless construction?

Imperial is utilizing a specialized trenchless construction method called horizontal directional drilling (HDD) for certain sensitive or congested areas like water bodies, significant wetlands, highways and sensitive archaeological or cultural heritage sites. The HDD method results in the least amount of surface disruption during construction. Please refer to our construction infographic or this video for more information.

What is Imperial’s restoration plan once construction is complete?

A reclamation plan will be prepared to address restoration after construction. Imperial’s goal is to restore all areas to as close to pre-construction condition as possible and to minimize the pipeline’s impact to the surrounding area.

What will happen to the old line once it's replaced?

The existing pipeline will be safely deactivated and remain in place, which will cause the least disturbance to the local environment and minimize our construction footprint.