Jim Burdett, Sr. Project Manager with JHA Companies’ gas engineering technical group, has once again demonstrated his ability to successfully navigate the New York State Article VII permitting and approval process for transmission gas pipelines and compressor stations. The Article VII permit was issued on January 17, 2019 to Minard Run Oil Company for the Sherman Compressor Station Expansion Project located near Seneca Falls NY.
Minard Run Oil Company is the world’s oldest family-owned, independent oil company under continuous management by one family. The project included the addition of a new 630 HP natural gas engine driven compressor to an existing compressor station. This new compressor will allow for a local, Renewable Natural Gas facility to substantially increase the processing of landfill gas and deliver it into Dominion Energy’s gas transmission network. Jim was retained to manage the entire project, including piping design, permitting, and to assist with construction activities.
The Commission Order states, “Allowing additional methane from the landfill facility to be transported to the DTI (Dominion) facilities will reduce the amount of methane flared or vented to the atmosphere. This will in turn, according to DPS Staff, reduce greenhouse gas emissions from this particular landfill, and help the State meet its stated goal of greenhouse gas reductions, as set forth in the State Energy Plan.”
The Article VII process is unique to New York State, whereby the NY State Department of Public Service (NYSDPS) has a special review process for permitting new electric and gas transmission facilities. This process was established to create a single forum for reviewing the need for an environmental impact of major transmission facilities. All requirements of agencies such as the NYSDEC and USACE are still required; however, final determination is provided by the NYSDPS in the Article VII process.
Each project presents challenges, some known in advance and others identified during the design process. Jim was faced with an existing condition related to compressor noise. Previous State approvals for the facility stated that “…the Company shall limit the noise produced to 40 dba at any existing residence…” However, during the mandated noise study, it was found that even with the compressors off, the ambient noise level at the closest residence was 48 dba. Through discussion with the NYSDPS, Jim was able to obtain a revision to the earlier noise limit definition, and the new order states “…the Commission shall limit compressor related noise at the two nearest residences to a limit of 50 dba.” This is just one example of the importance of working with a regulatory agency for a reasonable solution to a real problem.
Another challenge Jim faced was that the site is totally surrounded by a wetland, and the proposed building addition encroached into the regulated 100’ buffer. This condition limited our workspace for making a driveway improvement that would allow trucks to pull into the site and turn around. This site is also located in a known Bat Hibernia in the area that needed to be protected. As with most projects of this nature, time is of the essence. Jim was held to hard deadlines and made regular progress reports to the client.
JHA Companies successfully works with our clients and regulatory agencies to achieve solutions to real challenges. Our experienced team of professionals gets results. Contact us to discuss your next project.