Loud Pipeline Noises Disturb Doddridge County Residents

by Duane Nichols on November 14, 2016

Pipeline Slips & Scars Continue

Loud noise in Doddridge County wakes up residents

Information From Local News Reports, WDTV News 5, November 12, 2016

BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. — Several viewers reached out to WDTV News 5 on Saturday morning after hearing loud, explosive noises near the Stonewall Jackson momentum pipeline in Doddridge County.

After investigating and sending a reporter to the scene where Big Isaac Road and Meat House Fork intersect, Doddridge County 911 officials told 5 News that the noise was simply due to a pressure release valve on the pipeline letting go and building up with additional pressure.

No injuries were reported and there were no damages outside of the noises and regional disturbance.

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Why We Believe the Gas Companies Can Do Much Better

The small community of Big Isaac woke up at 5:30 AM Saturday morning to a huge hissing sound loud as thunder. It has been badly trammeled by the 36 inch Stonewall Gathering line. The quiet rural village at the intersection of Big Isaac and Meathouse Fork had the big transmission line put right through the middle of the community, with attendant disruption and destruction of meadow land vital to use of the adjoining slopes as pasture.

The sound awoke the community and provoked calls to 911, which didn’t respond and no one was able to get through to Equitable Gas (EQT), who owns the line. The residents were afraid of a blow out. Calls were made to activists far enough away to be safe, who were also unable to get a response.

It was established that the sound was coming from a compressor station. That wouldn’t prevent a horrendous fire if the gas ignited, of course. The sound did not slowly die out, as it would if the lines emptied, but about 7:30 AM it suddenly stopped. The big question is “What happened?”

One working hypothesis follows. Since it was the first colds nap of the season, a compressor “froze off.” As gas expands it cools, what is called adiabatic cooling, so compressors are subject to cold as the seasons change. They must be kept in a certain temperature range. A frozen compressor activates a pop-off valve, and with the huge compressors for a 36 inch line a lot of gas would be released, with consequent noise.

Now the people in this community are members of the human race. Several of them have college degrees, although the settlement is located in a rural area. The idea that they should be treated like rubes is outrageous. A call from the company to offer a brief explanation of what was going on when the alarm was raised, just a call to one or two families, either from the company (whose responsibility it was) or even 911 (assuming they contacted EQT and got an explanation from them) would have done a lot to allay fear of a fireball. The over-bearing attitude of gas companies toward the people their activities affect does more to damage to the companies then one can imagine.

S. Tom Bond, Jane Lew, Lewis County, WV

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Important Details on Unscheduled Blowdown of Stonewall Pipeline

I would add that it started with a huge explosion at 5:30, according to residents, “a sound like you never heard before,” followed by a loud hissing that went on for 2.5 hours.

The press person I finally got hold of contacted the company and was told that “nothing” had happened but a gas release, and the gas was apparently shut off around 8:00 a.m. Since the resident was afraid to go out there for fear of being caught on fire, he did not get any video or audio of the explosion or hissing sound.

This is the second time it has happened; the first one was soon after the line was first buried, last October. At that time, 2 or 3 people witnessed a large fire coming from the trench where the new pipe had just been buried. The people there now have to face the MVP being buried in a cross-trench right over or under the Stonewall, a line that was so badly screwed up we aren’t sure if we are going to survive it as it is.

I hope we can get a better system in place for the next time this happens! Know the residents called the WV-DEP and the spill line, but it was hours after the initial explosion. Interested persons went over the get an eye-witness account, but again, it was too late.

Anyone have other information, comments or suggestions?

April Pierson-Keating, Mountain Lakes Preservation Alliance

See also: www.mountainlakespreservation.org

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