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Updated: Site Is Picked For Williams-Transco Gas Compressor Station

Williams/Transco has selected a 52-acre site near Routes 27 and 518 as the location for its new gas compressor station. Graphic: Williams Co.


A 52-acre parcel near the intersection of Routes 27 and 518 has been selected as the location for the Williams-Transco gas compressor station project.

The site was selected over another option because it minimizes the effects of the compressor station on the environment and on nearby residents by about 80 percent, a company spokesman said.

The site, known as “Option B,” was one of two sites in generally the same area that Williams was considering for its Greenfield Compressor Station. The station will hold a 32,000-horsepower natural-gas powered twin turbine compressor, part of Williams’ $1 billion Northeast Supply Enhancement Project.

The enhancement is necessary, Williams’ representatives have said, because one of its natural gas customers is projecting an increase in need in several New York City boroughs.

Both of the sites under consideration – the other site, “Option A,” was close to Promenade Boulevard – are owned by Trap Rock Industries.

Compressor stations raise the gas pressure in pipelines so the gas can make it to its final destination.


Read more about the Williams/Transco plan to site a gas compressor in the township.


The plan to site the compressor station in the township – close to Franklin Park and South Brunswick homes – has been met with stiff opposition by residents in both towns. The residents say they are concerned about the compressor’s environmental and safety issues.

The Township Council earlier this year passed a non-binding resolution opposing the compressor’s siting in Franklin. A similar resolution was passed by the South Brunswick Township Council.

In picking the site, Williams conducted environmental survey work and “evaluated a number of criteria used to identify potential facility locations, such as property availability, access to electric power, pipeline hydraulics, land use and land development, site terrain, water table and storm water management, site accessibility, and potential impacts to nearby residences,” Williams spokesman Christopher Stockton said in an email. “Based on a thorough analysis of the environmental data and criteria listed above, we have identified Alternative Site 3 (also known as Site B) as the preferred location for the proposed facility.”

“The site was selected because it minimizes potential impacts to residential areas as well as to environmental resources, such as wetlands and waterbodies,” Stockton said.

The application process to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which must sign off on the project, is expected to last well into 2017, with construction on the compressor not completed until 2018.

“As part of the FERC application process, Williams will develop a detailed analysis of the project’s effect on wildlife, vegetation, wetlands, waterbodies and groundwater, geology, soils, land use, air and noise quality,” Stockton said. “More details about the site selection will be included in the Certificate Application submittal this spring.”

Early in November, Williams submitted draft resource reports to FERC explaining the data used by Williams in making its decisions. The Greenfield project stretches through several states and includes the laying of new pipelines, modification of an existing compressor station in Pennsylvania, in addition to the new station in Franklin.

In one of those reports, Williams maintains that a number of factors played a part in determining that the station must be located in Franklin Township.

The company said in the filing that the gas compressor station must be located somewhere in a 10-mile area between the 1,780 mile point on its Mainline gas pipeline and a location in Milltown. The company said that a number of environmental and other factors limited its options to what has been proposed.

Company officials have said in the past that the compressor station will sit on a 15-acre site, 6 acres of which will be cleared for its construction.

Update:

Williams spokesman Christopher Stockton supplied additional information behind the company’s decision on the site for the compressor. In an email, Stockton wrote:

“Following nearly four months of thorough environmental planning and investigation, Williams has identified a location for the proposed compressor station site which reduces potential impacts to landowners by about 80 percent.

  • Last summer New Jersey pipeline operator Williams held public meetings to solicit feedback on two possible locations for the new facility.
  • Williams also solicited feedback from township and county officials, state officials and regulatory permitting agencies.
  • Williams evaluated a number of criteria to identify potential facility locations, such as environmental impacts, potential impacts to nearby residences, property availability, access to electric power, pipeline hydraulics, land use and land development, site terrain, water table and storm water management and site accessibility.
  • Williams conducted extensive environmental surveys and data collection during the summer and fall of 2016. These surveys evaluated the project’s effect on wildlife, vegetation, wetlands, waterbodies and groundwater, geology, soils, land use, air and noise quality.
  • Based on a thorough analysis of the environmental data, the company identified its preferred location as a remote 52-acre tract located approximately one mile south of the intersection State Highway 27 and County Route 518 in Franklin Township, NJ. The site is formally known as Alternative Site 3 (also known as Site B).
  • The site is ideal because it minimizes potential impacts to residential areas as well as to environmental resources, such as wetlands and waterbodies.
  • In its site development plans, Williams has agreed to maximize the size of the wooded buffer that would surround the site. The facility will be situated on about six acres. The current design would require clearing approximately 15 acres, while the remaining 37 acres will be left wooded.
  • Williams has also agreed to take extra steps to ensure that the facility is not noticeable to residents, including the incorporation of extensive sound-buffering insulation into the facility design, Dark Sky compliant LED lighting, and the utilization of state of the art air emission control technology.
  • Williams is currently working towards submitting an application to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for our Northeast Supply Enhancement Project in the spring of 2017.
  • The project is a $1 billion private investment in the region, providing an opportunity to drive millions of dollars in new wages, revenues and put hundreds of people to work.”

 

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