Underground Natural Gas Storage Field & Compressor Station in Garrett County, MD

by Duane Nichols on November 27, 2017

Accident Compressor Station from above (photo)

Accident Dome Alert System for Compressor Station near Accident, Maryland

From an Article by Renee Shreve, Garrett County Republican (Maryland), November 22, 2017

Accident area residents may soon be able to receive alerts to warn them of pending Texas Eastern “blowdowns” and other scheduled natural gas events.

The issue was discussed during the Garrett County commissioners’ semi-annual Board of Health meeting last Thursday. The session was part of the Garrett County Health Planning Council’s monthly meeting.

Linda Herdering, Bumble Bee Road, Accident, asked the commissioners and various health officials in attendance to develop an alert system for residents so they could plan for the scheduled blowdowns. “Many of you don’t live on the Accident dome and may not be aware of what it is and what happens,” Herdering said.

Owned and managed by Enbridge Energy Partners/Texas Eastern, the “dome” refers to an underground natural gas storage field covering about 53 square miles in and around the town of Accident. The Texas-based company’s related infrastructure includes an intricate underground pipeline system, 84 vertical wells, and a compressor station.

“Those who live near the compressor station and any of those wells are frightened because of the noise when they (Enbridge) release gases to let the pressure off the lines,” Herdering said. She noted in a handout that a Texas Eastern permit defines these blowdowns as gas releases and purges of equipment at both the Accident compressor station and throughout the storage field.

The blowdowns are needed if a gas pipeline is taken off-line for maintenance, during emergencies, or to accommodate fluctuating demand. The releases, which are usually scheduled in advance, can occur on weekends and in the middle of the night.

“Blowdowns can last for two hours, and the noise is comparable to a commercial jet taking off in very close proximity,” she said. “Blowdowns and compressor engines can be extreme, enough to rattle a nearby home.”

Herdering also noted the releases can emit toxic gases, including methane, benzene, toluene, sulfuric oxide, and formaldehyde.

“This has been going on for years and years, and the residents live with it,” Herdering said about the blowdowns. “They know what it is. But it would be really nice if they had advance notice that this happens, like many other towns do. These are scheduled events. Enbridge Energy knows when they are going to do this. If it’s an emergency, that’s another story.”

In other areas, such as Myersville, where natural gas releases occur, town officials and/or energy companies alert residents via emails. Herdering indicated the warnings enable people to schedule their plans accordingly to avoid the noise and toxic exposure.
“There are a hundred reasons,” she said about the need for an alert.

She pointed out it would be easy for the county to set up an email warning system, as it already has a website that alerts residents about certain issues. “I’ve asked Enbridge Energy to do it, but they’re not listening to residents,” Herdering said. “We need the county’s support to work with Enbridge.”

She noted that she presented her ideas to the commissioners six months ago. Commissioner Paul Edwards said the issue was, indeed, brought up at the last Board of Health meeting and her information was reviewed.

“We agree,” Edwards said about the need for alerts. “Over the last six months, we have had some conversations with Enbridge. They do not do that (send out alerts). They have no interest in doing that. They have their own policies and procedures that, at this point in time, they are not going to change.”

Edwards stressed that the county and state do not have any legal authority to make the company change its policies.

“However, we are working on exactly what you asked for,” he told Herdering. “If Enbridge won’t do it, we’re trying to create a mechanism to do it. We have some of the infrastructure in place through our IT Department, but we have to do some upgrades to our website.” Edwards noted that should be completed within the next 30 days. “They (IT personnel) are working on it right now,” he said.

Edwards indicated residents will be able to sign up on the county’s website on the Citizen Connect page to receive alerts about a scheduled blowdown. “But here’s the caveat to that,” he stressed. “We’ve asked Enbridge to let us know when they are going to do it so we can, therefore, put the information out. If they don’t do that, there’s not much we can do.”

Edwards said he was led to believe that Enbridge has basically agreed to inform the county. “So, that is the hope,” he said.

Edwards told Herdering the commissioners and Board of Health agreed with what she said. “We’re trying to fix that,” he said. “People should be notified, and we’re trying to make that possible.”

“That is wonderful news,” Herdering said. “Thank you very much.”

See also: Maryland Environmental Health Network (MdEHN) sponsors of Community of Communities, a coalition of Maryland communities affected by natural gas infrastructure.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Mary Wildfire December 7, 2017 at 2:06 am

This is infuriating.

The company has a right to put the compressor station wherever it’s most convenient; they have a right to schedule their blowdowns whenever they like; they have no obligation to notify local residents so they can get out of town when the air is especially toxic, or so they aren’t freaking in the middle of the night, thinking there’s been an accident.

And residents and the local authorities are reduced to begging for an alert system.

What does this say but that human rights are now reserved for corporate “persons” while human persons have the same rights as the mice and frogs living near that plant? When it comes to this, it’s time for a revolution.


claude bowie February 11, 2018 at 5:05 pm

At some point, Gas and Pipeline companies need to come to grips with the issue of Fair Compensation to Landowners for Underground Natural Gas Storage. This is a huge national issue affecting thousands of landowners across 31 states in the USA. Private landowners are the rightful owners of the extremely valuable underground caverns within the storage areas of the 415 underground storage areas in the United States.

These underground caverns have been stolen from private landowners and Native Americans by the Federal Government, State governments, Courts, and Gas and Pipeline companies by illegal “perpetual leases” and illegal FERC imminent domain. The FERC is unjustly using the 1938 Gas Act to take over private property for underground natural gas storage. The 1938 Gas Act was written for pipelines only NOT underground storage.

Gas and pipeline companies make $Millions$ of dollars annually from underground natural gas storage on private property with ZERO or minimal compensation to landowners. Gas and Pipeline Companies must be forced to retroactively fairly compensate landowners for underground natural gas storage on private property from the date landowners were coerced into signing illegal perpetual leases or illegal FERC imminent domain.

Gas and pipeline companies are sharecroppers that aren’t sharing. You can’t avoid this issue forever!! Why not address it now?

Claude Bowie


Sky Truth Report May 7, 2019 at 8:52 am

NRC Report: Natural Gas near Kaese Mill, MD

Description: Incident Type: PIPELINE – NRC Report ID: 1244152 – Medium Affected: AIR – Suspected Responsible Party: ENBRIDGE
Incident Date/Time: 2019-04-27 07:03:00
Tags: NRC, other, release

SkyTruth, P.O. Box 3283
Shepherdstown, WV 25443
info@skytruth.org, +1 (304) 885-4581

Kaese Mill is a historic grist mill located at Accident, Garrett County, Maryland, United States. It was constructed about 1868, and is a ​2 1⁄2-story frame water-powered grist mill. It is the only fully operational water-powered grist mill in Maryland. It was built by Henry August Kaese, Sr., an immigrant miller from Germany who settled in Garrett County shortly after the American Civil War. Kaese Mill was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984.


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