2006 Summer Field Geotechnical Investigation Program – Gwich’in Settlement Area
Principal Investigator: Martin, Sandy D (8)
Licence Number: 14038
Organization: Imperial Oil Resources Ventuers Limited
Licenced Year(s): 2006
Issued: Jul 25, 2006
Project Team: Construction Manager (planning of Program, Imperial), Field Operations Manager (implementation of Program, Imperial), Field Superintendent (supervising all field activities, Contractor - TBD), Project Engineer (direct activities of Geotechnical Consulant and Ge, Contractor - TBD), Environmental Inspector (ensure enviornmental requirements are met, Contractor - TBD), Safety Advisor (ensure safety procedures are followed, Contractor - TBD), Geotechnical Consultant (directing all technical aspects of Program, Contractor - TBD), Geophysical Surveyor (executing geophysical surveys, Contractor - TBD), General Contractor (clearing and maintaining access and investigation , Contractor - TBD), Topographic Surveyor (locating access and investigation sites; surveying, Contractor - TBD), Emergency Medical Technician (available to provide first aid and determine medic, Contractor - TBD), Telecommunications Contractor (providing local and long distance communications, Contractor - TBD), Helicopter Contractor (providing emergency and routine services, Contractor - TBD), Fixed Wing Aircraft Subcontractor (providing emergency and routine services, Contractor - TBD), Environmental Monitor (providing input on environmental issues, Contractor - TBD), Wildlife Monitor (providing wildlife encounter management, Contractor - TBD)

Project Description: The objective of the proposed summer geotechnical investigations is to gather information on soil and ground conditions adjacent to a proposed pipeline right-of-way in the Mackenzie Valley. The gathered information will be used in preparing subsequent regulatory applications. The proposed investigations will focus on four potential borrow sources, which will yield information for use in determining the availability of suitable granular materials for pipeline construction. In addition, the investigations will comprise taking thermistor readings at boreholes drilled during winter fieldwork undertaken in 2004 and 2005. The boreholes are located in the Inuvik Area Facility site, anchor trial sites and at sites on the banks of the Thunder River. Installation of permanent right-of-way markers along the pipeline corridor at 10 km intervals will also be part of the investigations for use in topographic surveys.

The types of equipment and the number of personnel assigned to the investigation team will vary, depending on the requirements for soil sampling at each site. Equipment used in support of the geotechnical investigations might include the following: bulldozer/challenger, backhoe (on tracks), grader/delta 3, hydro-axe/brush-cutter, personnel carriers, ¾ ton trucks, 4x4 trucks, highboy with envirotank, mechanic’s truck, and hydro-vac truck.

Backhoes will be used to excavate test pits to obtain stratigraphic information and bulk samples of granular materials. If organic surficial material is present at the test pit location, it will be stripped and kept separate from the inorganic materials. A pit of 5 metres x 5 metres and 5 metres deep is required for each test pit within a maximum disturbed area of 25 metres x 25 metres (0.06 hectares). Upon completion of the sampling, test pits will be backfilled with inorganic material to the ground surface. Stripped surficial organic material will be placed on top of the inorganic material forming a crown to allow for subsidence. Survey of cross-sections across the sites will be undertaken to accurately locate access and to record the location of test pits. These surveys will document the topography of all or portions of the various borrow sources to be used as the basis for estimating volumes of granular material.

Shallow geophysical surveys will be conducted at the investigation sites in order to gather information on subsurface conditions. Geophysical surveys will employ electro-magnetic and electrical resistivity methods, consisting of the use of ground-penetrating radar. Survey equipment will be carried by hand. Methods will be non-intrusive, and will not require the use of explosives, either at ground surface or below the surface in test pits. To reach previously drilled boreholes in order to record thermistor readings, a helicopter landing area (40 m x 40 m) will need to be cleared at one facility site. As well, clearing may be required for up to sixteen previously investigated sites in order to land and take readings.

No camps will be established as part of this program. The field crew will be based in Inuvik and will travel to and from sampling locations each day using the Dempster Highway, existing roads, rights-of-way and cutlines.

A non-technical summary report of the program will be submitted to the Aurora Research Institute and each affected community.

Fieldwork will take place from July 25 to September 30, 2006 at the following locations within the pipeline study corridor of the Gwich’in Settlement Area: four potential borrow sources and five thermistor sites adjacent to the Inuvik Area Facility; eight thermistor sites located at four anchor trial areas (two sites per area); three thermistor sites located on the banks of the Thunder River; and 10 km intervals along the proposed pipeline corridor.