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Murrysville council OKs expansion for natural gas compressor station

Patrick Varine
| Tuesday, Dec. 26, 2017, 3:00 p.m.
The JB Tonkin compressor station, off Mamont Road in Murrysville, on Monday, Dec. 4, 2017.
Dan Speicher | Tribune-Review
The JB Tonkin compressor station, off Mamont Road in Murrysville, on Monday, Dec. 4, 2017.

Dominion Energy officials plan to begin large-scale expansion of a natural gas compressor station in Murrysville this coming March.

Murrysville council approved the expansion on the same night its members found out the first application for a Marcellus shale fracking pad in the municipality was filed.

Dominion Energy officials received council's approval for both a site plan and a conditional-use permit to expand the JB Tonkin compressor station off Mamont Road, which compresses and transports natural gas.

The expansion is part of a $460 million regional project that includes compressor facilities in Greene County.

Dominion wants to add a compressor unit that would be housed in its own building, a motor-control building that would include offices, an auxiliary building with a backup generator, an air system and hot-water boiler, and a building housing valves and other equipment.

Residents who objected to the project cited concerns about emissions and noise levels.

Dominion officials said last week that they had made efforts to comply with the municipality's noise ordinance, even though such efforts were not required.

“We're exempt from your noise ordinance by virtue of this being a (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission)-jurisdictional facility,” said Don Houser, Dominion Energy's state policy adviser. “But we've made efforts to comply and we've requested waivers for the two little areas we're talking about (where we aren't in compliance).”

Dominion officials agreed to a list of conditions, including performing a post-construction noise survey — for which the municipality's noise consultant will be present to verify the calibration of equipment and the testing results — and providing the results of air testing to the municipality each time a test is conducted.

Outgoing council President Joan Kearns said she felt Dominion “has done as much as they can to meet municipal code as much as possible.” She also strongly encouraged them “to be the best darned neighbors possible.”

Council's vote was 5-2 in favor of approving both the conditional-use permit and site plan. Outgoing councilmen David Perry and Jeff Kepler both voted no.

Dominion spokesman Frank Mack said work on the expansion will likely begin toward the end of March.

Council was also notified that Monroeville drillers Huntley & Huntley requested state permits for the Titan Well Pad project, a drilling pad proposed for property just west of the intersection of Bollinger and Hilty roads in eastern Murrysville.

Huntley wants to build a 4-acre well pad and access road on the 71-acre property, along with the attendant stormwater management.

Murrysville council members voted 6-1 in May to approve their fracking ordinance, which places setbacks at 750 feet from any protected structure to the edge of a well pad.

The Titan proposal is the first project to enter the municipality's development pipeline since its approval.

Murrysville chief administrator Jim Morrison told council that Huntley was required to notify them, but the project will not be on council's agenda anytime soon.

“It'll be six to nine months at the state level, most likely, and then it will come before council,” Morrison said.

Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-850-2862, or via Twitter @MurrysvilleStar.

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