Public service district officials in Ohio and Marshall counties are doing their best to keep up with pipeliners building natural gas lines across or near waterlines.
"To this point, they have been pretty cooperative," Kerry Marshall, manager of the Ohio County Public Service District, said of the pipeliners. "We had a couple of problems earlier this year, but we have gotten solid cooperation from them ever since. Whenever they are going to cross one of our lines, they always let us know."
Marshall said pipeliners building on behalf of both Dominion Resources and Chesapeake Energy are working in the county now. Last week, Chesapeake spokeswoman Jacque Bland said pipeliners installing lines to transport the company's gas are required to "call 811, the national one-call number, before construction commences to ensure underground utilities are marked to prevent damage."
Photo by Casey Junkins
Subcontractors working for affiliates of Chesapeake Energy install natural gas pipelines along Battle Run Road in Ohio County. County Public Service District Manager Kerry Marshall said following some initial challenges, most pipeliners have been cooperative with his department.
"We keep an eye on them, but they have been OK so far," Marshall noted.
The story is a little different in Marshall County, as Public Service District No. 4 General Manager George Lagos said certain pipeliners are more cooperative - and take better care of the waterlines - than others. He said pipeliners in his district have been busting rural waterlines and leaving them exposed to sunlight, emphasizing there are multiple pipeliners moving around his district's waterlines on a daily basis. Even though he requests to know when pipeliners are going to cross or expose waterlines, Lagos said some of the companies are not respecting this.
"I don't want the companies that have been cooperative to feel like we are coming out against them," he said.
"If all the pipeline companies operated like Price Gregory, I would have very few problems," he said of the Houston, Texas-based pipeliner.
"Sheehan Pipeline has also been pretty good about letting us know what they are doing and being careful," Lagos added of the Tulsa, Okla.-based company that maintains a local office in Moundsville. Sheehan also has a pipeyard in Ohio County near The Highlands, and the pipeliner's website notes it is working there on behalf of Chesapeake.
Lagos also said the district has been receiving information regarding truckers taking water from fire hydrants for use by pipeliners or other natural gas companies. He said companies are not using the water for fracking, but instead are using it to "water down" certain areas to keep dust under control.
"We are getting a lot of feedback on this. We are going to end up catching one of them," Lagos said. "Just the other day, I pulled up on a whole intersection that was wet because the guy had just left. I was that close."
Marshall said he has not received any reports of truckers taking water from fire hydrants in Ohio County.
Although pipeliners have Lagos and his small staff vastly outnumbered in Marshall County, Lagos said he believes even more activity is coming because of the Marcellus and Utica shale boom.
"People are telling me this is just the tip of the iceberg. They are going to keep bringing in even more pipeliners," he said.