I read with great interest the letter to the editor which appeared in your publication on Feb. 2 from the Franklin Township Compressor Station Task Force raising questions about the proposed compressor station 206.
As Williams’ Northeast Supply Enhancement project manager, I would like to take a moment to address some of the questions raised and correct several misstatements.
Let me begin by noting that we are still relatively early in this process. We are currently gathering information and conducting analysis that we are using to develop an application which would be filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) later this spring. FERC will conduct an extensive review of the project to determine: 1). is the project needed, and 2). can it be constructed and operated in a way that minimizes impacts on our neighbors and the environment.
Our Transco pipeline has been safely operating in Franklin Township for decades. In fact, we provide more than half of the natural gas consumed in the State of New Jersey, and about half of the gas consumed in New York City. This project has been designed to increase Transco pipeline deliveries to National Grid -- the largest distributor of natural gas in the northeastern U.S.
After extensive study, we identified a preferred location for the proposed facility near the existing Transco pipeline on a remote 52-acre tract one mile south of State Highway 27 and County Road 518 in Franklin. The site is preferred because it minimizes potential impacts to residential areas as well as to environmental resources, such as wetlands and waterbodies. The facility is being designed to be situated on a relatively small segment of the property, with the majority of acreage left as a wooded buffer surrounding the station.
Most people probably aren’t aware that our Transco pipeline already safely operates in this area. Our goal is to design this facility in a manner that it remains just as concealed.
The author of the letter expressed concern about the station’s proximity to Trap Rock quarry. It is important to emphasize that we are committed to maintaining the highest standards of safety, utilizing design, construction and operational procedures that will exceed already stringent industry regulations.
We have safely operated our pipelines on the Trap Rock property since Transco’s “A Line” was originally installed. The company operates other facilities in close proximity to quarries, including a recently completed station in Maryland and another in Manassas, Va. In 1987, both existing pipelines across Trap Rock property were replaced and relocated to accommodate an expansion of the quarry.
Although no quarry blasting will occur in close proximity to the station’s proposed location, a comprehensive engineering analysis will be conducted to ensure any potential issues are effectively mitigated in the station’s final engineering design.
Compressor stations are designed with extensive emergency systems. In the unlikely event of a leak or pipe failure, the station will automatically shut down appropriate equipment and vent gas into the atmosphere.
The author also expressed concern about controlled venting, known as blowdowns. While blowdowns are a standard operational maintenance practice, they do not occur at regular intervals and in this location, would occur infrequently (possibly once per year). Prior to a blowdown taking place, local emergency officials and nearby residents would be alerted. Gas would vented through sound dampening devices and materials to eliminate the odor associated with natural gas.
Finally, the author expressed concern about emissions.A comprehensive engineering analysis will be conducted to measure any potential impacts from blasting. The results of that analysis will be used to effectively mitigate any potential issues in the station’s final engineering design. to e The new station will be classified as a minor source of air emissions for permitting purposes with the use of state of the art emission control technology. This includes Selective Catalytic Reduction technology, which is used to significantly reduce the emission of NOx. This technology is similar to the catalytic converter used on cars and trucks to control motor vehicle emissions.
We certainly understand the concerns that have been expressed. Our goal remains to demonstrate transparency and do what we can to respond to questions and address concerns. Our recent decision to adjust the location of the facility, siting it farther from residential areas, was largely in response to such concerns.
We remain available and willing to maintain a dialogue with the township as the project continues to progress through the federal regulatory process. More information about the project, as well as frequently asked questions, can be viewed on our website at www.northeastsupplyenhancement.com.
Williams Project Manager