UGI addresses new pipeline across county
BY MATT VINE
Wyoming County Press Examiner
CENTER MORELAND – Plans for extending a UGI pipeline near Mehoopany to the Transco pipeline in Luzerne County got an airing last Wednesday.
Representatives of UGI Energy Services, in Harrisburg, met with Northmoreland Twp. supervisors and about 50 concerned residents in the fire hall.
UGI spokesman Kevin Kelleher, discussed plans for constructing the 28-mile pipeline that will travel from UGI’s proposed Manning compressor station off of Meshoppany Ridge Road in Washington Twp. southward across Mehoopany, Eaton and Northmoreland townships and then into Luzerne County.
He also said that the pipeline will run three feet below the surface, with a 25ft.primeter on each side.
Kelleher said to the residents that UGI had surveyed about 65 miles of a proposed route, which started in October of 2011, and came up with 28 miles so that the residents will not have to worry about having their land disturbed too much.
“We wanted a route that would have the least impact towards area residents,” Kelleher said.
The pipeline is about 24 inches wide and the gas itself is pressured at 1,440 pounds per square inch or about half the amount of hydraulic pressure one might expect to find in a commercial jet airliner.
Many residents who attended the meeting were concerned about an impact the pipeline might have towards the community.
Kelleher said the amount of land disturbed will be a space roughly 25 feet on each side of the pipeline.
“However, there will be areas that will receive slightly larger impact.”
Kelleher also said that once the pipeline is constructed, UGI will do its best to reclaim the area above it.
David Martin of Center Moreland said that because of a gas leak that happened in Beaumont with another company’s pipeline last November, he had concerns about whether UGI’s pipe would be tested for corrosion.
Bruce Davis, the local project manager for UGI, said that the pipeline will be monitored 24 hours a day, seven days a week at an operational center which is run by local UGI employees.
“Once the pipeline is installed, it will be inspected once a year for any problems and it will undergo an internal inspection every seven years,” Davis said. “If there are any problems with the pipeline, it will be remotely shut down, and local employees will be on scene within minutes.”
Kelleher also noted that about 800 employees who work locally for UGI.
“We are a local brand that serves the local community,” Kelleher said.
Jim Reino, UGI’s regional director of sales and operations, discussed the long-range possibility that the project could impact the community by giving customers lower rates if they were able to convert to shale gas from the pipeline.
Mary Martin of Center Moreland was concerned with knowing what route the pipeline project was taking and what it had to offer.
After looking at a map of the proposed route in the township, she realized it was about a mile from her home.
“I believe that this pipeline will be environmentally friendly to the local area,” Martin said.
Brenda Hampton of Center Moreland, who lives close by the proposed route, said that, so far, she likes what she sees with UGI.
“I hope that once the project is completed, we could connect and receive the shale gas,” Hampton said.
David Martin also liked how UGI was up front with the public about the project.
“I am glad that UGI gave us a lot of information what the pipeline is going to do,” Martin said.
While most residents who attended seemed satisfied by UGI’s presentation, resident Nick Rusinko asked pointedly if Northmoreland Township would be getting a compressor station or dehydration facility.
“It will only be a pipeline here in this township,” Davis said.
He added that construction of the pipeline could begin by late spring and could be moving gas at full capacity by late summer or early fall.