Mr. White has performed and/or managed the assessment and design of multiple projects to stabilize stream and river channels and beds at oil and gas pipeline crossings. This work has included the following:

Compendium of Stream-Bank and Channel Stabilization Methods

Developed a compendium of stream-bank and channel stabilization methods to assist a petroleum and natural gas pipeline company in controlling the impacts of their operations on the environment. The company operates approximately 2,800 miles of pipelines throughout western Canada and the western and Midwestern United States. The longest of these pipelines extends from Alberta, Canada through parts of Montana, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, and Illinois in the United States. Presented the client with 24 approaches that could be used to stabilize stream banks and channel bottoms, depending on the specifics of the site. These included “hard” approaches that rely on non-biodegradable materials such as riprap and concrete to provide stability. They also included “soft” approaches that rely on vegetation and other biodegradable materials, as well as combinations of the two general approaches. Evaluated the effectiveness, environmental consequences, and cost of each approach and provided the client with design and installation guidelines and maintenance recommendations to permit them to evaluate field conditions and, in many cases, select and implement an appropriate stabilization method without further involvement by Mr. White. In several cases where circumstances were unique, the client relied on Rich’s expertise to design mitigation measures to stabilize strain channels at pipeline crossings.

Stream-Crossing Location Evaluations

Evaluated stream-crossing locations along the route of a proposed crude-oil pipeline that that was to be constructed for approximately 90 miles from Evanston, Wyoming to Salt Lake City, Utah. Considered various alternatives for installation of the new pipeline across the streams to minimize damage, including spanning, boring, and trenching. Prepared stream-alteration permits for submittal by the client to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Utah State Engineer’s Office. Provided typical design drawings and specifications as well as construction alternatives for completing the stream channel crossings. In specific instances, collected site-specific survey data, evaluated design discharge rates, designed open channels and erosion-protection features, and provided the client with design drawings used for construction bidding.

Mitigation Design for Exposed Pipelines in Kansas and Missouri

Conducted an investigation of conditions at locations in Kansas and Missouri where historic pipelines had become exposed due to improper stabilization of ground during installation of a new pipeline. Examined the immediate area of concern as well as up- and downstream from that area, performed land surveys, prepared drawings and other documents to detail the design, assisted the client in obtaining stream alteration permits, and reviewed construction information to help the client with project implementation. Developed mitigation designs to stabilize the exposed pipelines while ensuring that up- and downstream areas were not adversely impacted.

Design of Channel Stabilization Measures in Utah

Flooding from snowmelt runoff in the spring of 2011 caused the Weber River in northern Utah to jump out of its normal channel and flow down what had been a small overflow channel adjacent to an island in the middle of the river. This overflow channel previously conveyed approximately 5% of the total flow of the river. With the change in flow direction, the channel now carried about 99% of the river’s flow. This caused mass wasting and erosion of the river bank at a location where a crude-oil pipeline was installed. The client immediately mobilized to the site and began interim stabilization of the river bank. Mr. White evaluated site conditions and developed a long-term stabilization plan consisting of the following measures:

  • Grade the eroded river bank to a stable slope.

  • Install fill on the bank where the river had created a sharp bend, thereby smoothing the bend transition.

  • Install riprap on the graded bank to protect against erosion and increase stability by adding weight the toe of the bank.

  • Install live stakes in the newly placed riprap as well as areas that are immediately downstream, thereby anchoring the riprap and providing additional erosion protection.

  • Remove large vegetative debris that had collected in the river upstream from the eroded banks.

Eroding Louisiana Stream

Evaluated conditions at a location in Louisiana where a stream bank adjacent to a 16-inch diameter petroleum pipeline was eroding toward the pipeline. To protect their asset, the pipeline company installed sheet piling as a retaining wall in the stream bank approximately 25 years earlier. However, the lack of a drainage layer behind the sheet piling eventually caused the piling to fail. Developed a design for stabilizing the stream bank at this location, consisting of regrading the channel bank, installing articulated concrete mats on the bank, and planting willow cuttings between the concrete blocks. This approach proved successful at keeping the bank stable during extreme flooding of the area two years after installation.