Updated compressor station data released

Published 4:45 pm Monday, November 9, 2015

Emotions ran high against the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) project Thursday night as the community advisory group for the proposed compressor station in Buckingham County met for a second time.

During the meeting, representatives from ACP, LLC released a conceptual graphic of what the 40,715-horsepower compressor station could look like should the 550-mile natural gas pipeline project receive approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

“I’d like to know who here really cares about what happens to Buckingham,” said Chad Oba, the chair of FOB. “Who really cares?! … The rest of you don’t care. You’re being led down this path … We’re being fed with what you want us to hear.”

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ACP, LLC owns about 68.5 acres to build the proposed gas-fired compressor station for the proposed interstate natural gas transmission pipeline. The land is just northwest of the Union Hill community along Route 56 just southeast of Shelton Store Road. The planned pipeline would cross and connect to an existing Transco interstate natural gas pipeline on the parcel of land, according to Dominion.

Marie Gillespie, who represented the Union Hill community at the meeting, said the community’s residents were “dismayed and quite concerned … about the quality of our health and the quality of our life as a result of this facility being placed right in the midst of our beautiful community.”

Paul Wilson, the pastor of two churches within a half-mile of the proposed compressor station, said the community was“ adamantly opposed” to the project.

Group members present represented Yogaville, the county’s industrial development authority, the county government, Kyanite, Friends of Buckingham (FOB), the Department of Forestry and the local soil and water conservation district.

Wilson questioned the number of law enforcement officers present at the meeting and the lack of time to review documents prior to the meeting.

“We question Dominion’s motive in asking for our community input when those most closely impacted are stating ‘no compressor station.’ Dominion, withdraw your FERC application for the ACP!” said FOB spokeswoman Kenda Hanuman in response to the meeting.

“We’re here for an advisory meeting. It’s like Dominion is advising us. I need to look at this and have some prepared questions,” Wilson said. “What am I here for? … They’re showing us what they want to hear. As far as they’re concerned, it’s a done deal.”

“About 80 percent of this gas will be used to make electricity,” said Carla Picard, an external affairs manager for Dominion, explaining the project. “Two of our biggest customers of this pipeline are Virginia Natural Gas and Piedmont Natural Gas down in North Carolina and they will be distributing this gas directly to customer’s homes and businesses in Virginia and North Carolina.”

The meeting included an overview of the proposed station and site by a panel of Dominion and ACP employees along with small-group sessions with members of the advisory group and employees of the ACP and Dominion on specific aspects of the station.

“We’re here tonight because we want to share this information,” Picard said.

Kevin Zink, an operations director for Dominion who’s operated gas facilities for about 36 years, explained the compliance and regulations of the proposed station. “Our number one core value is safety. There’s no way that we compromise it,” he said.

“This is new, state-of-the-art design,” Zink said of the compressor station.

Jay Riley, the compressor station’s lead design engineer, said the firm will be designing the facility over the next 10 months.

“We’ve decided to make the investment and put in blowdown silencers for the emergency situations [and] that testing that happens once every five years and so that will pretty much be a non-audible event,” said Paul Bastin, an engineering manager with the ACP.

According to an advisory group meeting document, “there is a potential for several public meetings as the project continues to move through the regulatory process. For example, the ACP project team plans to work with the [advisory group] to identify potential dates for a Buckingham County open house closer to the third meeting of the group. The timing would likely be in January 2016.

“In addition, the compressor station will go through Buckingham County’s special use permit process which may require a public meeting before the planning commission and, ultimately, the board of supervisors,” the document stated.

According to a new fact sheet regarding the proposed compressor station, the facility would include compressor buildings, an auxiliary building, an office building, a regulator building, micro-turbines (electric generators), a tank farm, gas coolers, gas heaters, blowdown and exhaust silencers, metering equipment, a launcher, a receiver, filter/separators, a dekatherm building and a communications tower.

“Based on air quality modeling, the air emissions from [the compressor station] would not cause or contribute to violations of [National Ambient Air Quality Standards] and would therefore not interfere with Buckingham County’s attainment status. Because of the low level of emissions expected from [the station] and the other compressor stations associated with the ACP, these facilities are considered minor sources,” the fact sheet stated.

The fact sheet indicates that ACP, LLC doesn’t anticipate a need to increase the compression at the facility.

“Emissions of all pollutants would be minimized through the selection of the most efficient turbines. Larger turbines, with greater horsepower output, are more efficient. More efficient models use less fuel and produce fewer emissions,” the document stated.

Construction of compressor station, according to ACP, would include a number of noise control measures. “For example, a muffler would be installed on the exhaust of each Solar turbine unit. The exhaust pipes of the four turbine units would be acoustically insulated from the walls of the compressor buildings to the muffler inlets. An air cleaner with a silencer would be installed on the air intake of the four turbines.”

FERC requires that the sound from the operation of a new compressor station not exceed 55 decibels at any noise sensitive area (NSA) in the vicinity, such as homes or schools. “FERC guidelines also require that the operation of the compressor station should not result in a perceptible increase in vibration at a nearby NSA,” ACP stated.

According to the firm, the result of acoustical analysis indicates “that the continuous sound attributable to the four proposed turbine compressor units operating at full-rated load and the measurement station will be lower than the FERC limit of 55 decibels at all identified NSAs, provided the specific noise control measures are successfully implemented.”

The next advisory group meeting has not been set, nor has a compressor station site tour date for the advisory group members, Dominion spokesman Frank Mack said.