Union Gas is planning to replace about 20 kilometres of pipelines in Greater Sudbury, upgrading from 10-inch to 12-inch pipes in the process.
Chris Minor, the utility's district manager for the Northeast, told city council Tuesday that the lines are in need of major servicing, making replacing them with bigger pipes a better option.
“This proposed project will ensure the continued reliable delivery of affordable natural gas in Greater Sudbury,” Minor said.
If the process goes smoothly, he said the company aims to begin next year, and the work will take most of 2018 to complete. The company is replacing two sections of pipeline, one running from Coniston to Frood Road, the other between Azilda and Walden.
Union Gas has 1.4 million customers in Ontario along with 70,000 kilometres of pipelines and $8.2 billion in assets. Locally, they employ 45 people.
They have a major storage facility in the community of Dawn, and supply most of the gas-fired power plants in Ontario.
There's a 150-year supply of natural gas in the province, he said, making it a safe and cost-effective option for its customers in 400 communities in the province.
“We do have an excellent safety record,” Minor said. “(And) gas prices today are actually lower than they were a decade ago.”
Workers will be coming from away to stay here to work on project, he said.
Ward 4 Coun. Evelyn Dutrisac wondered if there are safety concerns associated with the replacement work.
“Are there any major environment risks when you're changing to 12- from 10-inch pipe?” Dutrisac asked.
The main issues will be controlling sediment and protecting wildlife species, Minor said. Those will be addressed as part of the environmental plan for the project.