6.2.5: Restoring the pipeline's pathway
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Once the pipeline has been installed and covered, efforts are taken to restore the pipeline’s pathway to its original state, or to mitigate for any environmental or other impacts that may have occurred during the construction process. This often includes replacing topsoil, fences, and anything else (including removing debris and reseeding) that may have been removed or disturbed during the construction process. Significant soil compaction often results from pipeline construction equipment traffic in the easement and excavation and replacement of soil. This can result in reduced crop yields on agricultural soils and reduced tree growth on forested soils for several years. Steps should be taken to minimize soil compaction throughout the construction process and to mitigate compaction during restoration. Such steps include using only low-ground-pressure construction equipment and ceasing operations when soils are wet and most susceptible to compactive forces. After replacement of subsoil material in the trench and grading of the easement, the entire area should be deep ripped to a depth of 16 inches to loosen the exposed subsoil. On agricultural soils any rocks pulled to the surface during ripping should be collected and removed. The stockpiled topsoil should then be replaced over the easement, again taking steps to avoid compaction. The replaced topsoil should then be loosened by deep ripping to a depth of 16 inches, and, on agricultural soils, any rocks brought to the surface should be collected and removed. Recovery of full productivity of agricultural soils can sometimes be accelerated by incorporating compost or manure in the topsoil.