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Frequently Asked Questions

To better help you understand the scope of a project, we've answered questions we hear most frequently. Please note that some questions/answers are generic in nature and may not be relative to a particular project.

Questions can also be asked throughout the duration of a project via email or by contacting Iroquois' Toll-Free Landowner Hotline at 1-800-253-5152.

Benefits
Community Expectations

Emergency Response
Environmental Sensitivities
Health & Safety
Location & Routing
Permitting & Approvals
Project Oversight & Regulation
Property Value Impact
Benefits:
How do host communities benefit from these facilities?
  • Facilities we have built in New York and Connecticut have allowed us to bring clean, reliable and cost-effective natural gas into the Northeast to fuel the demand generated by residential homes, commercial and industrial growth.
  • Iroquois' facilities add to the tax base, offering a tax benefit to the local municipalities.
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Community Expectations:

How noisy is a compressor station?

Iroquois' compressor stations are designed to meet current FERC noise requirements of either the higher of 55 dBA or the existing background noise at the nearest property boundary. This is con-sidered a relatively low intensity sound level. Comparably, a normal conversation is typically 55 dBA.

 

How often does a compressor station blow down (venting of gas) occur and what is the noise impact? Both controlled and uncontrolled.

  • Gas venting is required to make the facility safe during abnormal operations as well as during maintenance. It can be initiated automatically in the control system of the equipment, or manually on site.
  • Unscheduled gas venting of the Emergency Shut Down system (ESD) is an unplanned event and can occur at any time for a multitude of abnormal operating conditions. While noisy, an ESD only lasts approximately 2-3 minutes and does not occur often.
  • Scheduled gas venting is sometimes done during operations and maintenance activities to ensure proper operation of safety systems as well as the equipment.
 

Will there be notifications of planned blow downs?

For planned major blow downs (venting of our mainline) that are performed at our Main Line Valves (MLVs), Iroquois initiates a communications plan that typically includes notification to nearby residents, notification to local officials and emergency responders, and newspaper notices to the general public.

For minor venting, such as at our meter stations, local emergency responders are notified just prior to gas being released.

 

Will there be increased lighting on the compressor station site?

Iroquois will work with the community to ensure adequate lighting is available for safety and security, without being obtrusive.

 

Will any of these projects allow me to get natural gas at my house?

Generally speaking, interstate pipelines operate at pressures incompatible with direct residential use, which is provided by local distribution companies (LDCs). Residents should contact their local LDC to determine availability.

 

Can we expect disruptions in our neighborhoods as these new elements of the system are built?

While we do not expect any major disruption to neighborhoods, as with any construction, there may be an increase in traffic as workers travel to and from the site. Information regarding construction, such as schedules and routes will be made available on our website and our landowners toll-free line, 1-800-253-5152.

 

Is tree removal necessary along the Right-of-Way?

In order to maneuver construction equipment in the Right-of-Way area and to allow for adequate construction techniques, the removal of trees and other growth may be necessary. Negotiations with landowners will take place prior to clearing of the Right-of-Way.

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Emergency Response:

Will the town/city need more fire equipment and personnel?

Iroquois meets with emergency responders and reviews coordination efforts including: communication protocols, emergency responder and Iroquois capabilities and responsibilities, Iroquois' integrity program, security, and characteristics and hazards of natural gas. Whenever new facilities are built, Iroquois reviews these with emergency responders to determine if modifications to protocols are necessary.

 

Does Iroquois have emergency response plans?

Iroquois is required by federal agencies to have effective Emergency Response and Operating & Maintenance Procedures in place.

Iroquois periodically revises its Emergency Operating Plan and Field Operations & Maintenance Procedures. Our Engineering and Operations departments keep the plans current and provide necessary training to state and/or local emergency management personnel.

We work closely and maintain a continuing relationship with emergency responders and local officials in our pipeline communities to prevent and prepare for emergencies.

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Environmental Sensitivities:
How will the underground line affect the surrounding environment?

All necessary protection techniques as detailed within the FERC Plan and Procedures and our FERC implementation plan will be implemented during construction of new pipeline. Once installation activities for all pipeline facilities are complete, all areas will be restored and stabilized as necessary to mitigate erosion of exposed soils and sedimentation to on- and off-site resource areas.

 

What is the impact to wetlands?

If wetlands are identified on a project site, Iroquois will install erosion control barriers, stabilize exposed soils and restore the project area in accordance with FERC Plan and Procedures to protect any nearby wetland areas from on-site activities and related soil disturbances.

Additional information on this subject will be contained in the project’s Resource Reports which will be available on our website when filed with FERC.

 

How will material storage and compressor leaks be contained from entering ground soil or water wells?

The turbo compressor package is proposed to incorporate a dry gas seal system, which eliminates the high-pressure seal oil system. The turbo compressor package, including both the turbine engine and gas compressor, will be enclosed within an on-skid enclosure that provides turbine lube oil containment.

Buildings that house hazardous materials such as oil will be constructed with secondary containment to prevent such materials from contaminating the environment. In addition, the station will be required to operate with an approved Spill Prevention Containment Control plan in place to further guard against the release of oil from sources such as vehicles.

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Health & Safety:
Is it safe to locate these facilities near schools?

Pipeline facilities are located near schools, churches, hospitals and residential areas throughout the United States. Iroquois has programs to monitor and maintain the integrity of the system to ensure the safety of the public. Safety is uppermost in our mind as we operate every day.

 

How will Iroquois ensure safety of nearby residents?

Iroquois has procedures and programs in place to ensure the safety of the public. Please see our Safety Brochure for details.

 

What chemicals/ lubricants/ cleaners/ pesticides/ coolants/ antifreezes will be used at the site?

This information will be identified and submitted to the appropriate agencies.

 

Are there any health effects from compressor station emissions? Air quality effects?

Potential compressor station air pollutant emissions will not pose any adverse health or air quality effects. In order for Iroquois to secure the required air permits to construct and operate its proposed turbo-compressors, Iroquois must demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) or the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) that potential "criteria" (typical combustion byproduct) emissions would not cause or contribute to any exceedence of an ambient air quality standard set by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Iroquois must also demonstrate to these agencies satisfaction that any potential hazardous air pollutant emissions are less than "maximum allowable stack concentrations." These criteria and hazardous air pollutant standards have been established by the EPA, DEC or DEEP to protect human health and the environment.

 

Will residents smell the emissions from the station?

Residents should not be able to smell natural gas fuel combustion exhaust from the proposed turbines or auxiliary heaters and equipment. Natural gas is odorized as a safety precaution to indicate the presence of any leaks. Residents may be familiar with this smell from their own cooking ranges and other natural gas appliances. Normally, residents would not smell natural gas from the compressor station, which is contained in pressurized piping and equipment. In the event that natural gas is vented to the atmosphere for safety or other reasons, residents may smell the natural gas odorant for a short time.

 

Will there be personnel at the station?

All Iroquois facilities are designed to be unmanned and operated remotely. However, they are monitored 24/7 by Iroquois Gas Control and technicians are dispatched when needed. The station is designed with multiple safety systems to automatically shut the station down in a safe manner. Iroquois technicians will routinely visit the station to perform maintenance or operational checks.

 

How tall does a compressor stack need to be to disperse emissions?

Iroquois' turbine exhaust stack heights are designed to adequately disperse air pollutant emissions in the atmosphere surrounding the proposed compressor station. Stack height is determined case-by-case for each project, and depends on the size and type of turbines, surrounding topography, adjacent buildings, weather conditions and other factors.

Iroquois must demonstrate to the satisfaction of the CT DEEP or NYS DEC, for each air permit application, that stack heights and other parameters affecting air pollutant dispersion are adequate to comply with ambient air quality standards established to protect human health and the environment.

 

Safety at the plant?

Iroquois' Compressor Stations are designed, constructed, operated and maintained in strict accordance with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Part 192; Transportation of Natural Gas and Other Gas by Pipeline: Minimum Federal Safety Standards. The effectiveness of these regulations in providing reliability and safety is illustrated by the fact that no pipeline or equipment failures resulting in offsite property damage or personal injury have occurred at Iroquois' existing stations.

 

Gas detection at the compressor/cooler units?

Iroquois does not employ gas or fire detection for outdoor equipment, including gas coolers. In the unlikely event of a gas leak on outdoor equipment - the gas, which is much lighter than air, would dissipate very quickly. Gas detection equipment is typically used in certain buildings and confined spaces such as a compressor building.

 

How close will the pipeline loop be to the existing pipeline?

Pipeline loop is typically installed approximately 25 feet from our existing pipeline.

 

To what depth is the pipeline buried?

Generally, Iroquois locates its pipeline 3 feet below the ground surface. In certain areas, such as agricultural fields, greater depth of cover may be used.

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Location & Routing:
Why do more pipelines need to be built anywhere, especially here?

Need, created by economic growth, is what drives the creation of pipelines and other important public infrastructure. Natural gas pipelines are very difficult to site and very expensive to build. Iroquois only builds on demand.

If the regulators who oversee the pipeline construction are convinced there is a need and that the project is in the best interest of the public and, further, that the facilities can be built in an environmentally sound manner, then after public comment and participation, and only then, will the project be approved for construction.

 

Is there an alternative location for this facility?

In siting facilities many factors are taken into consideration prior to determining the location - safety, environmental impact, access, constructability, land use, economics and public and landowner input. Iroquois seeks to minimize land disturbance by locating additional facilities at its current locations, and by following the existing pipeline corridor.

As part of the process, Iroquois will be required to submit alternatives in its application to the FERC. Details on site alternatives can be found in the Resource Report #10 filed with FERC.

 

Why build in a residential neighborhood?

Iroquois tries to avoid residential neighborhoods wherever and whenever possible. However, sometimes it is our only alternative. For example, Iroquois typically transports gas to Local Distribution Companies (LDCs), which are normally in the heart of the populated areas. In order to get the gas into these community systems, we must bring it to where they are. Also, in many cases, our facilities were constructed first and the neighborhoods built up around them.

 

What is a pipeline right-of-way?

A pipeline right-of-way is the area of land over and on both sides of a pipeline. A right-of-way agreement between a pipeline company and a property owner is called an easement. Easements provide pipeline companies with permanent, limited access to the land to enable us to operate, test, inspect, maintain and protect our pipelines.

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Permitting & Approvals
Who is responsible for approving this project?

Iroquois will be required to comply with the regulations of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and other appropriate federal, state and other authorities. The FERC, as lead federal agency, will make an assessment of the project from an environmental standpoint and will issue a determination of whether or not the proposed project is within the public convenience and necessity. Additional information on the FERC process can be found at www.ferc.gov.

 

Facility is not consistent with local planning and zoning regulations. Is a variance needed from the town?

Assuming a certificate is issued by FERC, Iroquois will cooperate with state and other authorities during the construction phase. While this certificate preempts the effects of local, regional, and state restrictive efforts, including zoning, Iroquois works with host communities to the extent practicable. The certificate also gives the company the ability to challenge any state or local agency attempting to prohibit or unreasonably delay the construction or operation of facilities approved by the Commission, or attempts to impose any terms or conditions at odds with the Commission's certificate.

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Project Oversight & Regulation
What pipeline standards, codes, rules, laws, restrictions, regulations, and controls govern pipeline installation and maintenance?

The primary governing code for the design, construction, operation and maintenance of pipeline facilities is the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Part 192; Transportation of Natural Gas and Other Gas by Pipeline: Minimum Federal Safety Standards. This safety regulation will be used in conjunction with many other supplemental codes and standards to ensure a safe and reliable pipeline system.

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Property Value Impact
Will property values go down?

Property values in most communities fluctuate in up and down cycles. The report Pipeline Impact to Property Value and Property Insurability, based on a 2015 study conducted by Integra Realty Resources, demonstrates that the presence of a natural gas pipeline does not affect the value of a property, its desirability or its insurability.

 

Do I need extra property insurance?

Pipelines are safe neighbors. Since commencement of operations in 1991, we have yet to hear of any landowner purchasing additional insurance due to his or her proximity to our pipeline. We do know, however, that homeowners who have natural gas service directly to their homes for heating and cooking, pay the same insurance rates as compared to other forms of energy.

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