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Q: How is the route of the pipeline chosen?
A: The selection process was designed to minimize the project’s impact on the environment, landowners and communities and conducted in a deliberate and thoughtful manner, with a focus on safety. As we refine the route during the planning and permitting process, we consider a number of factors including landowner concerns, environmental issues, cultural resources and constructability.
Q: How deep will the pipeline be?
A: Pipelines typically are installed at a depth 3 feet or more, in accordance with federal, state and local regulations.
Q: How will the pipeline benefit communities through which it passes?
A: There are multiple benefits for local communities along the pipeline’s route. Local counties will benefit from the taxes on the pipeline and associated facilities. The project will also have a positive economic impact from construction workers residing locally and consuming goods and services from local businesses.
Q: How will the pipeline be constructed?
A: Once all appropriate approvals and permits are received, pipeline construction will occur in phases. We begin by clearing and grading the land. Then, crews will string, weld and install the pipe, laying it into a trench and then covering it with soil. Before operations begin, the pipe is carefully inspected and tested, as required by U.S. Department of Transportation regulations. The entire construction and installation process will be monitored by inspectors and will proceed as quickly and with as little impact as possible to the environment, landowners and the community.
Q: Who actually completes the construction?
A: Construction is typically completed by qualified, experienced subcontractors, with oversight by Piedmont Natural Gas.
Q: Once the construction is complete, what maintenance is performed?
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A: Pipeline inspections occur at least once a year, and the right of way will be maintained in good condition by Piedmont Natural Gas.
Q: What steps are taken to ensure the safety of the pipeline?
Q: Who oversees the project?
A: Piedmont is committed to safely operating and maintaining our pipeline. Along with our regular visual inspections, we will monitor the pipeline continuously using state-of-the-art technology. We place pipeline markers at road crossings, fence lines and other areas to clearly identify the pipeline corridor. Neighbors who live along the right of way also are encouraged to contact us if they have any questions or see or hear anything that concerns them.
A: A number of federal and state agencies will be involved in the approval and oversight of the project. The proposed pipeline will be built and operated in accordance with U.S. Department of Transportation, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) standards. This agency, through the State, will have oversight and audit authority over construction and operations.
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Q: What measures does Piedmont take to protect the environment during and after construction?
A: Piedmont is committed to protecting significant cultural sites, environmentally sensitive areas and endangered species. This commitment extends through all aspects of the project. We will work with appropriate federal and state agencies to comply fully with all applicable laws and regulations. Beyond that, we have our own standards and procedures that help ensure that employed professionals and contractors do their utmost to exercise care and respect for the possible effect of our activities.
Q: How would Piedmont protect wetlands and culturally important sites?
A: We start by selecting a route that avoids sensitive areas whenever possible. This route is based on detailed professional surveys and studies. We also identify and mark wetlands and culturally important sites that need to be avoided during construction. During the permitting process for the project, state and federal agencies will review and approve proposed construction plans at sensitive areas like wetlands and culturally important sites to further ensure the protection of these areas. Next, we take all the necessary precautions and adhere to the best environmental practices when constructing in the vicinity of these areas. We choose only qualified and experienced professionals to construct the pipeline. By doing this, we minimize the impact of construction activities within these areas. In addition, we will employ specially trained environmental and archaeological inspectors to monitor environmentally sensitive areas, culturally sensitive areas, and endangered species during the construction process. Finally, after construction, we ensure that the site is thoroughly cleaned up. Then we restore the land to as close to its original condition as possible.
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Q: What is a right of way?
A: A right of way is the actual strip of land granted to Piedmont as result of the easement agreement allowing Piedmont to cross your property to install, inspect, operate, and maintain the pipeline and equipment. Piedmont's right of way extends along, across, below and above the easement. For more information on rights of way,
Q: What is involved with a pipeline survey, and does my giving permission to survey mean I am giving permission to build the pipeline on my property?
A: Survey crews will be identifying property boundaries, distances to surface features, other underground utilities, "fine tuning" the route, and construction workspace requirements. Additionally, environmental and cultural survey crews will be reviewing the route for any environmental or culturally sensitive resources. These crews will be digging holes during their survey efforts as required by the various regulatory agencies to help identify sensitive environmental resources. All holes will be backfilled immediately upon completion of the survey. Granting of survey permission does not mean permission to build the pipeline on your property is also granted. These are separate negotiations with Piedmont’s land agents.
Q: What is an easement?
A: An easement provides Piedmont with a limited use of property for defined, specific purposes. The acquisition of an easement does not transfer ownership of the land to Piedmont; it does, however, give us the right of access for construction and maintenance and the safe operations of the pipeline.
Q: Will landowners be paid for use of their land?
A: Landowners will be compensated for the construction and operation of the pipeline on their property. Piedmont will compensate landowners for the right of way as agreed upon during easement negotiations. Piedmont will compensate landowners for all areas of direct construction impact, as well as for crop damages realized as a result of the construction activities.
Q: What are the inconveniences associated with construction? How big of a disruption will it cause?
A: Piedmont uses best management practices such as topsoil segregation, erosion control, irrigation restoration, and other protective measures to give landowners active use of their land for farming and recreation activities after construction is completed. In addition, Piedmont will work with landowners to see that restoration and other follow-up actions are completed timely and satisfactorily. After pipeline installation, landowner surface restrictions are relatively minimal, typically prohibiting installation of any new permanent structures. Beyond this, landowners may use the surface of the land much as they did before.
Q: Will Piedmont pick up all trash and debris from my field?
A: Yes. Piedmont requires its contractors to maintain a clean right of way during construction. Typically, each piece of equipment, as well as all vehicles, will have trash and/or debris collection bags on them. Additionally, all construction material, trash, and other project-related debris will be removed from the right of way during final clean-up activities.
Q: How will the ground be restored following construction?
A: Any rocks or tree roots will be picked up prior to fine grading the right of way with landscaping type equipment. Finally, grass seed, lime and fertilizer are applied to the right of way to establish new ground cover.
Q: What is visible once construction is complete?
A: Typically, the facilities are essentially invisible. Yellow markers, such as the one seen at right, are installed in accordance with federal regulations.
Q: After construction, what can be done on land where pipe has been laid?
A: Each property owner will have his or her own copy of an encroachment agreement that outlines exactly what can and can't be done and developed on the land with pipeline installed. Property owners are free to plant standard landscaping as well as crops. Structures such as swimming pools or permanent buildings may not be built over the pipeline. As always, property owners should call 811 before digging for any project to check for pipeline locations.
Q: How close can I build to the new pipeline?
A: Property owners are permitted to build up to the edge of the right of way. However, before proceeding with your project, please contact Piedmont Natural Gas and a representative will be glad to work with you to locate the edge of the right of way boundary.
Q: What will Piedmont do to prevent or minimize settling (subsidence) of the ground once the trench is backfilled with dirt?
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A: When no objection is raised by the landowner, the backfill will have a slight crown to allow for subsidence so that when it subsides, it will be near natural grade. If subsidence is excessive or creates problems for the landowner, the project will return and reestablish natural grade in the low area to the extent possible. Additionally, Piedmont will perform necessary compaction over the trench in certain agricultural areas and/or as indicated in landowner easement agreements.
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