Irving seeks approval to assess abandoned oil pipeline

J.D. Irving is approaching landowners on Saint John's west side for permission to perform underground inspections after discovering an abandoned oil pipeline.

J.D. Irving Ltd. will perform inspections and environmental audits on pipeline

J.D. Irving Ltd. is approaching landowners on Saint John’s west side for permission to conduct underground inspections after the company’s recent discovery of an oil pipeline that was abandoned roughly 60 years ago.

Saint John council gave J.D. Irving staff access to seven city-owned properties during a meeting on Monday night so they could assess the 2.3-kilometre-long pipeline.

The company will perform inspections and environmental audits aimed at decommissioning the oil pipeline, which is running under the properties and was abandoned a half century ago.

Saint John Mayor Mel Norton could provide few details on Monday night about the pipeline. He said the pipeline runs under parts of the west side and ends at the company's pulp mill.

He also said other properties that are not owned by the city are involved.

The pipeline was likely abandoned in the 1970s, according to J.D. Irving officials, and was decommissioned the way pipelines would have been in that era.

"It was decommissioned in accordance with then standard practice. It is not standard practice now the way it was decommissioned," Norton said.

Mary Keith, a vice-president at J.D. Irving, said in an email on Monday night the company could speak on the issue on Wednesday.