City installs water line as ACP work ramps up


BUCKHANNON — Installation of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline could start any day now.

Despite several delays this year related to permitting, the ACP is still slated to be completed by the end of 2019, Samantha Norris, spokeswoman with Dominion Energy, said Tuesday.

Norris, communications specialist with the energy company, said although the actual 42-inch pipeline has yet to be installed, construction has been underway in Upshur County and a variety of other areas in the Mountain State for several months.

“We’re trenching and moving in pipe at many locations, and we’ll start installing the pipe very soon,” Norris wrote in an email. “We just received final approval to start full construction in North Carolina, and we’ll get underway in the coming days.”

Dominion Energy is the primary owner and operator of the 600-mile-long pipeline, which will transport natural gas from Harrison County, West Virginia, through Virginia and into North Carolina, ending in Robeson County. Construction hasn’t been OK’ed in Virginia yet, where Dominion is awaiting the issuance of a permit approving the company’s erosion and sediment control plans.

“We’ll get started in Virginia as soon as we receive approval of our erosion and sediment control plans, most likely late in the summer,” Norris said.

The Upshur County portion of ACP will be built in two spreads — or smaller, more manageable sections — and both are still on track to be done at the end of 2019. ACP has been broken into a total of 16 spreads across the three states.

“Although full construction for the 2019 spreads won’t begin until the winter, we’ll start preparatory work like clearing trees and debris this fall,” Norris said. “The project remains on track for completion by the end of next year.”

Currently, a contractor for the City of Buckhannon, Chojnacki Construction, is building the water line infrastructure necessary to test the ACP, public works director Jerry Arnold said Tuesday. Earlier this year, the city entered into an agreement with ACP in which ACP agreed to pay for approximately $2 million in enhancements to the municipal water system, which it said were necessary to perform hydraulic testing on the natural gas line.

The city has since contracted out two projects, one of which involves the installation of 9,300 linear feet of water line on the Brushy Fork Road across from ACP’s contractor yard.

Arnold said the project may be causing some traffic delays. That project costs $524,150, while a second project on Liggett Addition totals just over $998,000.

Mayor David McCauley said Tuesday that while some environmental groups are leery of the effect the pipeline could have on public health and the environment, city officials don’t believe either will be in jeopardy.

“That $2 million worth of improvements [ACP is funding] would have taken us another 10 years to have realized,” McCauley said, “and we only could have done it through rate hikes for our customers. From the city’s perspective, we’re receiving millions of dollars of improvements and we’re not going to compromise our environment or public health.”

The Brushy Fork water line project is scheduled to be done by late October, according to water board meeting minutes.

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