Columbia Gas: Northern Loop Project would extend lines through Liberty, Concord townships

Pipeline would include southeastern Union County

Jim Fischer
ThisWeek

Columbia Gas intends to install a new pipeline through Delaware County, primarily in Liberty and Concord townships, and into southeastern Union County.

A virtual public hearing will be held by the Ohio Power Siting Board at 6 p.m. April 28 to give the public an opportunity to provide testimony regarding the proposed pipeline.

This map shows preferred and alternate routes of a proposed Columbia Gas pipeline project in Delaware and Union counties.

The project, called the Columbia Gas Northern Loop Project, is intended to supply natural gas to a growing part of the region, according to Columbia Gas spokesperson Eric Hardgrove.

“The Northern Loop Project is designed to bring natural gas from pipelines on the eastern side of Franklin County, where supplies are abundant, to areas north and west of Columbus,” Hardgrove said. “Several phases of the project have already been completed, bringing the line to Delaware County. The final phase, being planned now, will loop from southern Delaware County to southeast Union County, where it will connect to our existing gas distribution system.”

Columbia Gas is one of six natural-gas suppliers to Delaware County and one of two in Union County.

The proposal includes a preferred and alternate route for the pipeline, either of which would be 16 to 17 miles long. In addition to numerous private properties, the pipeline would cross U.S. Route 42 or U.S. Route 33 (depending on preferred or alternate route chosen by the siting board), the Scioto River, O'Shaughnessy Reservoir Park and Glacier Ridge Metro Park.

“Columbia is currently working with landowners along the Northern Loop Project to acquire land rights,” Hardgrove said.

The pipeline would be installed entirely underground, Hardgrove said, via open trenches save for the portion underneath the Scioto River.

If approved by the siting board, Columbia would expect to begin and complete construction in 2022, with the line brought into service by the end of the year.

Liberty Township trustee Shyra Eichhorn said trustees were notified of the proposed pipeline and the April 28 hearing and said she is not aware of opposition by specific township residents at this time.

The Delaware County commissioners filed a notice of intervention and have been made a party to the process, according to staff attorney Aric Hochstetter. 

“We will be attending the virtual public hearing to listen to the testimony from members of the public, and we will then have an opportunity to present evidence at the evidentiary hearing in May,” Hochstetter said.

Commissioners have expressed concern about the “proposed project’s impacts to natural-gas supply within Delaware County, specifically the adequacy of natural-gas supply for robust and orderly residential, commercial, industrial and institutional development,” according to the language of a resolution approved earlier this year.

Hardgrove said the Northern Loop primarily is designed to deliver natural gas more efficiently to current customers, but opportunities could emerge for new customers along the pipeline. Interested individuals should call 1-800-440-6111 once the pipeline is in service.

Siting board spokesman Matthew Butler told ThisWeek this project was presented by Columbia Gas in a public-information meeting in August. The April 28 hearing, Butler said, is primarily for the purpose of hearing public testimony to be entered into the case record. He said a subsequent hearing May 11 will be held, at which parties to the case may present evidence.

Once that process is complete, the matter will be placed on an agenda for deliberation and decision by the siting board.

Butler said "it's hard to say exactly when" this project will be decided. The siting board meets monthly, Butler said, and the process from presentation to decision generally is nine to 12 months.

Butler also said written remarks may be made to the siting board at any point in the process and "a number of folks along the route" have done so in this case. Such remarks also become part of the case record.

More information about the proposal is available at olumbiagasohio.com.

Information about the April 28 hearing is available at opsb.ohio.gov. Information also is available at that link for individuals interested in offering testimony during the hearing. Those wanting to testify must pre-register by noon April 27.

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