Subcommittee releases proposed conditions for station

Published 11:11 am Friday, November 18, 2016

Editor’s note: The 40 proposed conditions are below this story.

Buckingham’s planning and zoning office has released 40 conditions as part of an on-going special use permit process where Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) is seeking to construct a 53,515 horsepower (hp) compressor station along Route 56 as part of its 600-mile ACP natural gas pipeline project.

In late October, a subcommittee of the planning commission, which is currently considering the permit request, was organized to review and amend the original conditions on the permit. District One representative and Commission Chairman John Bickford and District Three Representative Pat Bowe sat on the subcommittee.

Email newsletter signup

The creation of the subcommittee came a week after the second of a two-part, hours-long public hearing where lists of speakers put up a nearly united front against the project, citing numerous issues, including air emissions, water quality, noise, health impacts and property devaluation.

Commissioners will meet again Monday at 6 p.m. to review the conditions on the permit and potentially vote on the permit request, making a recommendation to the county’s board of supervisors.

The proposed conditions address a wide variety of topics related to the compressor station, including horsepower, emergency response, air quality studies and emissions tests, installation of fire breaks, a backup emergency communications system, compliance with the permit, staffing and use of silencers and noise.

Conditions include a minimum of one employee, contractor or third-party security staffer be present onsite 24/7 during the first year of operation, installation of a backup system for monitoring communications and emergency notifications, a third party firm conducting air quality studies and emissions tests, development of a crisis response plan, the collapse of structures within subject property lines and grass or gravel fire breaks between the facility and adjacent properties.

According to Kevin Zink, Dominion’s director of operations for compressor stations and pipelines, who spoke to the commission in late October, the firm would meet with law enforcement officers from state police and the sheriff’s office on security aspects of the facility, in addition to having security cameras and monitoring at the station. He said the firm works with volunteer fire departments and other emergency response agencies in training for emergency situations at such facilities. Zink also said while the company does not provide special equipment to agencies to respond to emergencies, it does make monetary donations to emergency response agencies.

Proposed conditions:

  1. The compression of natural gas will occur through natural gas fueled turbines with no greater than a combined 55,000 ISO horsepower rating and no turbine shall have an ISO horsepower rating greater than 22,000. An increase in horsepower will require new permitting.
  1. The only use of the property shall be compression, measurement and regulation of natural gas and its transfer above ground and underground, except that a Microwave Tower shall be permitted provided a separate SUP is approved by the Board. No other non A-1 use shall be made of the property.
  1. There shall be no abatement of local property taxes in association of this request.
  2. During normal operating hours, the applicant is responsible for providing the first response to any emergency in relation to the compressor station. The applicant shall prepare, at its own cost, an Emergency Preparedness Plan, in accordance with the U.S. Department of Transportation, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration regulations, to be submitted to the County for review prior to implementation of operations.
  1. During construction, activities that produce noise between the hours of 10:00 p. m. and 6:00 a. m. shall not exceed a noise level of 60 dBA (decibels) at the property line, without prior notification to the County.
  1. Noise attenuation measures will be implemented making all reasonable efforts such that noise levels attributable to normal plant operations will be kept to an L90 reading of 55 dBA (decibels) or less at the property lines with the exception that the front property line (along Route 56, S. James River Hwy) may have a dBA of 60. If testing by a qualified noise consultant shows an exceedance of these levels Dominion will consult with Buckingham County regarding the reasons for the exceedances and reasonably available noise mitigation measures. Also, noise levels attributable to normal plant operations will be less than 55 dBA at any adjacent existing building that is not on the subject property.
  1. During construction dust shall be controlled with water or water and calcium chloride.
  1. Exterior lighting will be directed downward and inward to the extent feasible in order to prevent any glare on adjacent properties. In addition, the facility will be designed to enable exterior lighting for work areas of the station to be switched off while not in use. Any lighting for surveillance will be at minimum foot-candles for visibility and shall be pointed in a down direction.
  1. Site lighting shall not exceed 5 foot-candles in exterior working areas and 2 foot- candles in parking and non-working areas.
  1. Light trespass shall be limited to and should not exceed 0.5 foot-candles at the property line. All exterior luminaries shall utilize full cut-off optics.
  1. All driveways, parking areas, and access roads shall be maintained in a manner that will keep dust to a minimum so as not to adversely impact adjacent properties. Driveways and parking areas will have asphalt surface or better, exception may be applied if not feasible and dust can be controlled otherwise.
  1. The compression station and accessory facilities, used for the compression, measurement and regulation of natural gas and its transfer above ground and underground, shall be centrally located on the property to the greatest extent feasible and shall conform generally to the layout shown on the drawing submitted with the application.
  1. A natural colored chain link fence or similar security device shall be placed around the facility at least seven (7) feet in height and will feature prominent “No Trespassing” signs.
  1. There shall only be one (1) permanent detached sign for project identification purposes (exclusive of directional signs) which shall be a ground-mounted monument type sign with landscaping. Any lighting of the sign shall be from above and shielded away from adjacent properties.
  1. Fencing and all structures shall have a minimum setback of 100 feet from all property lines.
  1. Existing trees along the northwestern property line and along the front of the property (as noted on the site layout submitted with the application) shall be maintained as a buffer for the life of the station. East of the station access road and east of the existing Transco lines there shall be trees planted and maintained after construction to provide a buffer and block visibility from the highway and adjacent properties.
  1. Main Buildings and structures above the tree height, with exception of the microwave tower, shall be a neutral earth tone color (example: muted browns, greens, grays).
  1. Silencers shall be used during blowdowns.
  1. The Virginia Department of Transportation shall approve access to the proposed facility and the applicant will provide all required improvements.
  1. A traffic management plan shall be submitted as part of the overall site development plan. Review and approval by VDOT of the traffic management plan will ensure that temporary construction entrances and access roads are provided appropriately; that “wide load” deliveries are scheduled during appropriate times, and that access routes to and from the site are planned to minimize conflicts.
  1. All necessary permits shall be acquired from all applicable regulatory bodies of the state and federal government and copies of such permits shall be provided to the County upon request. The applicant shall maintain periodic reports as required by permits and these reports shall be provided to the County upon request.
  1. This facility shall utilize Best Available Control Technology (BACT) in accordance with the most current DEQ air permit; to include but not be limited to Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) for the reduction of Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) emissions and Oxidation Catalyst (OC) for the reduction of Carbon Monoxide (CO) and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) emissions.
  1. Prior to construction, the applicant must demonstrate that all wetland requirements applicable to the facility, if any, have been achieved to the satisfaction of the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers.
  1. At such time as the facility is granted abandonment authorization by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the applicant or its assignee shall remove all personal property, fixtures, buildings and other structures, and leave the site in a reasonably comparable condition to that which existed prior to construction of the facility; provided that the applicant or its assignee at its option may, except for any underground fuel storage tanks, abandon any below ground utility infrastructure facilities, foundations and pavings in place.
  1. The applicant shall operate in accordance with all permits, laws, rules and regulations of Federal, State and local law, including this special use permit. If a violation of any state or federal permit applicable to the facility is reported to the local government by the applicable regulatory agency, the Board of Supervisors, and/or the County Administrator, may request the applicant to provide, at the applicant’s sole expense, the services of an appropriate firm to review the nature of the violation if any, and the remedy, if any. This firm shall be selected by and report solely to the county.
  1. Any non-compliance of this permit’s conditions could lead to a stop order and discontinuation of the special use permit, upon proper action of the Board of Supervisors, unless the non-compliance is cured within 30 days of the date applicant is first notified. If such a cure cannot reasonably be accomplished within such 30 day period, Applicant shall have additional time beyond that 30 day period provided that Applicant has commenced such cure within such 30 day period and thereafter diligently prosecutes such cure to completion within a reasonable period of time.
  1. Upon start-up a report will be prepared and provided to the County showing operational factors associated with the compressor station that includes the name(s) and contact information for on-site supervisors, and verification of current, valid state and federal licenses and permits. The County will be promptly notified of any changes, normally within thirty business days.
  1. Any complaints or inquiries by the Board of Supervisors, County Administrator, or Zoning Administrator will be responded to promptly. In the event the applicant is notified of any violation of applicable federal, state, or local laws, regulations, or permit conditions applicable to the facility, the applicant shall notify the Zoning Administrator in writing within two business days of receiving such notice and within 10 days fully inform the Zoning Administrator of the current steps being taken to correct and/or remediate the violation. Authorized county personnel or their authorized agents will be permitted to inspect the facility, with 24 hours prior notice and in accordance with Applicant’s safety procedures, to ensure that all physical structures and plant operations comply with local regulations.
  1. Nothing in this approval shall be deemed to obligate the County to acquire any interest in property, to construct, maintain or operate any facility or to grant any permits or approvals except as may be directly related hereto , i.e. microwave tower.
  1. The applicant shall certify to the County annually that it is in compliance with all conditions of this special use permit.
  1. In the event that any one or more of the conditions is declared void for any reason whatever; such decision shall not affect the remaining portion of the permit, which shall remain in full force and effect, and for this purpose the provisions of this are hereby declared to be severable.
  1. A minimum of one employee, contractor or third party security personnel shall be onsite 24/7 for the first year of operation.
  1. Shut off valves shall be installed on both the inflow and outflow lines of the compressor station as well as at the connection with Transco. These valves shall be designed to operate automatically, remotely and manually.
  1. The monitoring system and valves must be programmed to alarm and call out personnel to investigate and manually monitor the station when monitoring communications are lost.
  1. A back-up system for monitoring communications and emergency notification must be installed.
  1. A fire break shall be created between the facility and adjacent properties, with the exception of the border of Route 56 and the existing Transco right-of-way. The break, which may be located in any required setback, shall consist of 50 feet of grass or gravel and shall be clear of trees and shrubs, where feasible, so as to not impact visual screening and noise attenuation, or conflict with Conditions 16 and 23.
  1. Air quality studies, required by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, will be conducted to demonstrate compliance with the federal National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) in the area potentially impacted by the compressor station. The air quality studies will be conducted by a third party company and a report will be submitted to the County at least 60 days prior to the start of construction.
  1. Initial NOX, PM10, PM2.5, VOC, and CO stack testing will be completed within 180 days of first turbine startup to determine emission rates to demonstrate compliance with applicable Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and federal Environmental Protection Agency regulatory requirements. Additionally, periodic NOX stack emissions testing will be conducted to demonstrate compliance with 40 CFR Part 60 Subpart KKKK emissions limits. All emissions tests will be conducted by a third party company and all data and reports will be submitted to the County within 60 days of completing the test.
  1. Any physical structures must be designed and located within the property, such that, should all or a portion of the structure(s) collapse, the structure(s) will fall completely within the subject property lines.
  1. Applicant will develop, in consultation with the County, a Crisis Response Plan that will incorporate appropriate notifications with the Buckingham County Dispatch office so that if a gas leak, fire or other eminent danger occurs, the Buckingham Dispatch is promptly notified of the incident. Thereafter, the Buckingham Dispatch office will be contacted with further details for dissemination in the code red alert system. Applicant will also coordinate an emergency simulation with Buckingham County Emergency responders to practice the Crisis Response Plan within the first year of operation. Applicant will also implement a prior notification process with the County relative to planned blowdown events.