The company proposing to build a natural gas line from Pennsylvania though Schoharie County is promising to do what it can to avoid impacting people’s drinking water supply if the project is approved.
And if it doesn’t, Constitution Pipeline will foot the bill for damage and replacement of water supplies.
Constitution Pipeline last week submitted general responses to environmental concerns — a precursor to the detailed environmental study — to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
The company is proposing to build the pipeline through a 120-mile stretch of farmland and forests and residential areas from Pennsylvania to the town of Wright in Schoharie County.
Starting in early September, FERC held several meetings and received public input to guide the environmental review process.
One topic of concern among those providing comment is water quality, an issue the company says is in the forefront of planning.
The company employs environmental inspectors whose job is to make sure all standards and regulations are followed during the construction process, according to the filing.
Numerous studies, according to the company, are under way to identify existing groundwater conditions and studies are ongoing to develop information on aquifers, groundwater and springs and ways to avoid any impact to them, according to the company.
So far, the company has re-routed the pipeline’s proposed path in several areas after identifying such features in the draft plans, including the reservoirs for the Cobleskill village water system.
Several questions revolved around impacts on private wells, and the company is promising to develop an inventory of any private well within 150 feet of the project’s workspace if it’s approved.
Wells would be monitored both before and after construction and any effects will be addressed, according to the company’s filing.
“In the unlikely event that construction of the project temporarily impacts private or public well quality or yield, Constitution will provide alternative water sources or other compensation to the well owner(s). If it is determined that permanent impacts have occurred to a well due to the construction of the project, Constitution will replace the well or provide an alternate water source,” the filing states.
Constitution Pipeline spokesman Christopher Stockton said in an email Wednesday that water is of prime concern to the company.
“We are very sensitive to water quality issues, and that is certainly one of the factors taken into account when making routing decisions,” Stockton said.
The company’s general response to issues identified during FERC’s public hearings can be found online at the FERC website at www.ferc.gov for project number PF 12-9. It includes brief assurances the company is studying potential environmental impacts, including water, migratory birds, karst topography, agricultural land, forests and other topics.
Stockton said the company realizes there will be an impact on the environment since the project is so large, but he said Constitution plans to minimize these impacts as much as possible. Much of the work will depend on laws and regulations currently on the books.
“We recognize that with a project of this size, there are going to be environmental impacts. Our objective is to work together with property owners, local governments, permitting agencies and others to gather as much data as possible so we can identify areas of concern and then work together to develop a plan to minimize the effects of pipeline construction to the greatest degree practical,” Stockton said.
More information can be found online at www.ConstitutionPipeline.com.