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South Buffalo supervisors approve 8-mile natural gas pipeline

| Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014, 12:51 a.m.

South Buffalo Supervisors on Monday approved a plan by EQT Gathering to build an 8-mile natural gas pipeline through the township.

The line would enter the township at its border with North Buffalo, continue south and cross under Route 28, then snake toward McVille Road, where an above-ground valve will be located.

From there, the pipeline will continue southeast and exit the township under the Allegheny River near the border with Freeport.

EQT Corp., EQT Gathering's parent company, doesn't have gas wells in South Buffalo.

The 16-inch natural gas gathering line would connect with a larger, 21-mile system intended to transport gas east toward Elderton, where the company has a compressor station.

A compressor station in North Franklin Township will provide enough pressure to get the natural gas through South Buffalo, company officials said.

EQT representatives presented their plans during a public hearing on Monday where some residents expressed concerns about safety, given the pipeline could carry gas at a pressure between 750 and 1,400 pounds-per-square-inch.

“I have a home that is exceedingly close to the pipeline and I'm concerned about that,” said Brad Milliron, who said his home on Ford City Road sits about 185 feet from the center of the pipeline. “That doesn't make me sleep very well at night.”

Some homes could be located closer to the pipeline. The company has negotiated 50-, 75- and 100-foot permanent rights of way, said EQT regional land manager Richard Meder.

Safety measures include sensor valves, which can be remotely accessed, that will monitor for leaks or other problems in the pipeline and shut off the movement of gas if needed, he said.

The line will be marked and registered with the PA One Call system, so that excavators are made aware of its location when they call before digging.

Registration has been a concern in the township since a road crew hit an unmarked line that wasn't registered.

Supervisors approved the project on several conditions, including that EQT provide a safety record, hold a safety meeting with township officials and emergency responders, provide a certificate of liability insurance and the class of pipe that will be used.

The pipe thickness and gauge of steel required by state and federal regulations varies by class. Class is based on state-determined population spans and ranges from class one in rural areas to class four in a city.

With the experience they gained during NiSource Midstream Services' construction of a high-pressure natural gas pipeline through the township, supervisors will know how to tackle problems, said Supervisor Terry Van Dyke, who is also the township's road superintendent.

“I'll be keeping a close eye on them,” he said.

Jodi Weigand is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-226-4702 or jweigand@tribweb.com.

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