HOPEWELL TOWNSHIP: Meeting on proposed pipeline is Tuesday

By John Tredrea, Special Writer
The Penn East Company’s proposed natural gas pipeline will not go all the way across Hopewell Township.
Township Mayor Vanessa Sandom said Monday that, if built as currently proposed, the pipeline wold “end at Blackwell Road, where it will be connected to existing lines. This pipeline will not be providing gas to Hopewell Township, but rather only serve to transport gas through the township to the connecting pipes in Blackwell Road.”
Blackwell Road is in the southeastern portion of the 58-square-mile township.
Hopewell Township has scheduled a special informational meeting about the controversial pipeline proposal. The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 23, in the auditorium of Hopewell Valley Central High School on Pennington-Titusville Road. The auditorium seats about 1,000 people.
PennEast Pipeline Company representatives will make a presentation on its proposed pipeline at the meeting.
“We urge residents to attend this meeting and bring their questions,” Mayor Sandom said. “We are hoping for an informative and active discussion of the issues.”
On the issue of how far underground the pipeline would be, township officials noted, “The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, within the U.S. Department of Transportation, regulates natural gas pipeline safety, including depth.
“In normal soil conditions, the minimum required is 30 to 36 inches between the top of the pipeline and the land surface. Additional cover is provided at road and waterbody crossings while less cover (a minimum of 18 inches) is required in consolidated rock. In special cases, the pipeline could be buried deeper (48 to 60 inches) where agricultural practices or other issues warrant additional cover.”
On the matter of how much land will be affected during installation of the pipe, the officials said, “The digging of the trench and installation of one section of line involves a work area that will vary in size depending on local factors, such as terrain, geology, waterways and existing structures, but can generally vary from 90 to 125 feet wide along the pipeline route.
“More than one section may be under construction at one time. Field crews stay within the agreed-on study corridor, staking out the layout of the line. Equipment is needed at times to shape the pipe to fit the route. Sections of the pipe are welded together onsite.
Once the pipe is laid in the ground, it is covered with soil, and the surface area is restored to original conditions in accordance with regulatory requirements.” 