Water board agrees to gas pipeline deal

© 2017-The Record Delta

BUCKHANNON – Let it flow.

The Buckhannon Water Board on Thursday approved a preliminary agreement with Atlantic Coast Pipeline that states the company will pay nearly $2 million to enhance the city’s water system.

According to a copy of the agreement, ACP will pay for $1,933,085 worth of improvements to the city’s water system — improvements that natural gas company officials say are necessary to perform hydrostatic testing on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. City water board employees will perform the labor required to make the improvements.

While the name of the actual 42-inch natural gas pipeline that will stretch approximately 600 miles from Harrison County, West Virginia to Robeson County, North Carolina is the “Atlantic Coast Pipeline,” ACP is also the legal entity formed by the four companies involved in the project: Dominion Energy, Duke Energy, Piedmont Natural Gas and Southern Company Gas.

Dominion is the chief owner and operator of the pipeline, according to previous The Record Delta reports.

The agreement approved by water board members mayor David McCauley, Eric Waggoner, councilman David Thomas and councilman Robbie Skinner states that ACP “has agreed to provide the Water Board with all monies necessary to study, design and construct the necessary Water System Improvement project.” The water improvement project is estimated to cost $1,933,085, according to the agreement. However, it won’t be official until city officials make several minor corrections and send it to ACP, which will then review and likely approve it.

The project includes the construction of a new booster pump station capable of providing a flow rate of 1,000 gallons per minute; 6,900 feet of linear PVC pipe connecting the water distribution system in the Brushy Fork Road area to the new water distribution piping at the ACP Brushy Fork Connection Point; and another 6,900 feet of linear PVC pipe connecting the water distribution system near Sheetz on Route 20 to the Clow water storage tank.

The project must be completed prior to Nov. 1, 2018, according to the agreement.

The water board approved both the actual plan for enhancements as well as the agreement itself in two separate motions at Thursday’s meeting. Prior to the vote, the board heard from Mike Johnson, an engineer with Chapman Technical Group, who said making the improvements are the only way the city’s water system could provide the level of flow ACP needs to test the lines.

“I told the engineers at Dominion (ACP) that they couldn’t have picked a worse point in your system to try to withdraw that amount of water,” Johnson reported. “The long and short of it is that the improvements are necessary to get them the water, extending water mains and installing a booster station.”

McCauley noted that ACP needs a minimum of 1,000 gallon per minute flow during hydrostatic testing.

“Let’s approve the upgrade first, and then we will entertain a motion to approve the actual agreement that still hasn’t been approved by our friends at Dominion (ACP),” McCauley said. “It needs to go to them, but it would at least authorize us to send it to them, and then approval of the plan as has been detailed and outlined by Chapman Technical Group.”

Skinner made a motion to approve the plan, which was seconded by Thomas before passing unanimously. McCauley noted he and city attorney Tom O’Neill will be making several minor changes to the agreement, including inserting language that refers to the water board as a statutory corporation, separate and distinct from the city’s general fund.

“I don’t want the city’s general fund to be liable in any way, shape or form for the activities of our water board, and I look after the sanitary board and the waste collection board and the consolidated public works board the same way,” McCauley said. “We are five distinct corporations.”

The city is comprised of five enterprise funds, each of which operate independently but in conjunction with one another.

Thomas made a motion to approve the agreement pending several minor changes in language and content, which was then seconded by Waggoner before passing unanimously.

“The agreement is not binding until both parties sign it,” the mayor said.

Mike Cozad, a community liaison with ACP, attended Thursday’s meeting but did not formally address the board.

McCauley noted he mistakenly referred to the nearly $2 million as a grant in a previous The Record Delta article.

“I want to be clear that it is not a grant,” he said following the meeting. “They (ACP/Dominion) are paying us for our services.”

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