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Example of a natural gas compressor station

Proposed New Sewickley compressor station must still undergo formal input from public

David Taube | Beaver County Times

NEW SEWICKLEY TWP. — As the township evaluates a natural gas treatment facility, resident Leigh Ann Young wonders whether the company will address concerns before they become problems.

The Teets Road resident could end up about 1/2 mile from the proposed project, where Dallas-based Cardinal Midstream could construct up to two buildings with four compressors each.

Trucks would remove byproducts of natural gas at the facility, planning commission secretary Ed Eisenbrown said. Gas would then be sent by pipeline to a processing plant.

During winter, snow banks turn the narrow road into one lane. And just two miles away on Lutz and Zehner School roads in Butler County, Young has seen industrial trucks make repaving repeatedly necessary.

“This road was really designed for farm equipment and cars,” Young said Monday. “I’m for a compressor station if it’s done responsibly.”

In addition to a supervisors meeting, two other meetings will address issues this week at the municipal building on Miller Road. The township’s planning commission will have a special meeting at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, and a public hearing will be at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday for public comments.

Supervisors could make a decision on whether to approve the project this summer, and the public hearing could allow officials to consider if further options are necessary, township Manager Walter Beighey Jr.

The company has not yet purchased the property where it wants to build the facility, Beighey said. The 11.2-acre parcel under consideration is located at 282 Teets Road, according to the township.

The compressor station would treat gas from area wells, Beighey said, and Allegheny County-based PennEnergy Resources LLC said the facility, which it would not own, would be essential for its gas distribution.

Eisenbrown said trucks also would haul away byproducts, which Beighey said could involve six trucks per day when it’s fully operational.

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Interstate highways and state roads have 10-foot or wider lanes, but Young said the township has found the width of the road is about 16 feet wide on average. She said two-lane traffic is fine for typical vehicles, but oncoming commercial traffic such as dump trucks would require vehicles to drive off the sides of the road.

Cardinal Midstream’s media contact did not return messages left Monday afternoon.

The planning commission will make a recommendation to supervisors so they can decide whether the project should be allowed with certain restrictions. Those discussions have drawn interest from a couple dozen residents, several who have attended meetings because they have drilling leases on their properties.

Last week, Young attended her first planning commission meeting about the project with her husband. The couple has a daughter who’s going into second grade, so Young said she wants to make sure the roads are well-maintained for her child’s school bus, adding they also have concerns about noise.

Under Act 13, which regulates and sets fees for unconventional gas wells, compressor stations cannot exceed 60 dba, a noise measurement that’s about the same as a conversation at 3 feet, according to environmental advocacy organization PennFuture.

Township officials have sought to mitigate noise levels. As part of that discussion, officials have asked whether the company would only operate from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., rather than 24 hours a day, seven days a week, Beighey said. The company has not yet responded to such a request, he said.

Eisenbrown said Tuesday’s special meeting will address last-minute issues before a recommendation goes before supervisors. He said one of the issues could be whether the company uses an access road, thereby avoiding Teets Road.