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Pipeline work expected to begin in August in South Buffalo

| Thursday, June 28, 2012, 9:29 p.m.

NiSource Midstream Services expects to begin the first phase of its work on a portion of a 70-mile natural gas pipeline that runs through South Buffalo Township in the Murphys Bottom Road area.

A crew will be excavating on the steep hillside and boring under the Allegheny River at that location.

"This is probably one of the most difficult areas we have," said Jim Privett, NiSource director of projects and project manager for the pipeline.

The township supervisors on Thursday granted a conditional-use permit the company needed to work in the township.

NiSource officials said they hope to start construction in August and have the entire pipeline in service by December.

NiSource plans to replace a dormant 55-mile, 10-inch pipeline with a 20-inch or 24-inch high-pressure line and will lay new pipe to complete each end of the line.

The pipeline crosses 4.2 miles of land in the township.

About 30 residents are affected by the pipeline right-of-way.

It enters South Buffalo from Buffalo Township near Ralston Road, continues under Buffalo Creek, across the Phoenix at Buffalo Valley Golf Course, under Freeport Road and Dock Hollow Road, toward Murphys Bottom Road, then under the Allegheny River toward Gilpin.

"It will provide additional take-away capacity for Marcellus shale gas," said Denise Richter, an operations manager for NiSource.

The company has a partnership with XTO Energy, a subsidiary of ExxonMobil, which will transmit natural gas from its processing plant in Butler Township through Butler, Armstrong, Allegheny, Indiana and Westmoreland counties.

"This is one of the biggest projects we've ever had in South Buffalo," said Supervisor Terry Van Dyke. "As long as they work with me and call me if there's a problem, we shouldn't have a problem."

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