Gas pipeline would cut through NW Coweta

by Wes Mayer

With plans in motion to build a 106-mile natural gas pipeline expansion from Coweta to Murray County, many locals have discovered their property may soon be affected by a major construction project.

The pipeline project is being led by Williams, the company based out of Tulsa, OK, that also owns and operates the Transco pipeline system that runs relatively horizontally through Coweta. The new pipeline, the Dalton Expansion Project, will branch out of the Transco line and head through northwest Coweta directly north to Murray County, Ga.

Of the 106 miles, 6.3 miles of the line will run through Coweta. The preliminary route of this pipeline has been mapped out, and the residents living along the route were contacted by Williams employees.

Residents had concerns about the pipeline, so an open house forum was held to allow residents to ask questions of Williams employees. According to Williams communications specialists, the pipeline’s route is far from final.

Employees with Williams and the governing agency, FERC – the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, continue to meet with residents to hear concerns and consider an alternate route, if necessary.

After this, the project will be reviewed by FERC and, if certified, construction may begin in the middle of 2016. The pipeline is expected to be operational by 2017. At the open house meeting held at the Newnan Centre, a large source of information was available for residents, including answers to frequently asked questions, details on the steps taken to build a pipeline, and what Williams’ standards are during and after construction.

For residents whose property is in the path of the pipeline, Williams will compensate all the landowners to use the land as an easement. An easement is a limited right to use the land for specific purposes. Although it varies per property, Williams will typically need 25 feet of permanent easement for the operation and maintenance of the pipeline and an additional 85 to 125 feet for construction workspace and a right-of-way path for construction vehicles.

During the construction process, Williams assures there will be no disruptions to residents’ daily activities. The first step is for ground surveys to be performed by land, engineering and environmental science specialists.

The land will then be cleared and graded of vegetation, and temporary erosion control measures will be installed. The right-of-way will be graded after construction ends, all drainages will be returned to their natural patterns, and the area may be seeded, terraced or mulched to prevent erosion.

Construction crews will then trench the area with backhoes, and all removed soils will be stockpiled by the right-of-way – topsoil will be stockpiled separately to prevent mixing with the subsoil. Williams will then lay the pipes out along the trench and bend them as needed to fit in the ground.

After this, Williams will weld together the pipes and cover them with protective coatings, place them on the edge of the trenches, and with x-ray machines will make sure the welded joints are properly coated. According to Williams, pipeline representatives constantly check to make sure the pipelines will not be affected by corrosion and the welding is secure.

Williams will then lower the pipes into the ground and fill in the trench – no foreign materials are allowed in the trench. The pipe will then be tested with water or inert gas to make sure it can withstand high pressures. After this, the construction workers will clean up and restore the work area to its former appearance. Markers will be placed in the ground to locate the pipeline.

The Dalton Expansion pipeline is expected to bring 448,000 dekatherms of natural gas to Georgia residents every day – providing daily natural gas to around 2 million homes, according to Williams.



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