EPD looking into Transco complaints
The Georgia Environmental Protection Division is investigating the construction of a natural-gas pipeline that cuts through western Coweta County for reported violations of environmental regulations, particularly stormwater and sedimentation regulations.
Kevin Chambers, spokesman for the state environmental agency, confirmed that there is an investigation but said he couldn’t give any details. Chambers said he might be able to provide more information in a few weeks.
Williams Partners’ Transco Dalton Expansion Project is a 115 mile natural gas pipeline running from the existing pipeline and compressor facility on Lunsford Road in Coweta to new delivery points in Paulding and Murray counties.
Attorney Harry Camp, who is representing property owners in Coweta and Bartow counties affected by the pipeline construction, said a Transco employee told one of his clients that there was a stop-work order.
Property owners in Bartow County have filed complaints with the state alleging violations of environmental regulations as part of the pipeline construction. The Daily Tribune News in Bartow County reported Sunday that one property owner saw machines pumping muddy water from the construction site onto wetlands on his property.
A spokesman for the Tulsa-based company’s Transco pipeline said Monday that state regulators had not issued a stop-work order.
“We have voluntary suspended certain construction activities on our Dalton project as we work diligently with our construction contractors to resolve environmental-compliance issues following a severe weather event which occurred in the project area a week and a half ago,” Christopher Stockton of Transco said in a statement emailed to the Daily Tribune News.
“We are committed to promptly correcting these issues and completing constructing of this important project in a safe and environmentally responsible manner,” Stockton said.
He stated that the project is about 90 percent complete and approximately 70 percent of the right-of-way has been restored. The pipeline is set to be completed this summer.
A call to Stockton from The Newnan Times-Herald Monday afternoon was not returned.
Because the pipeline project is permitted through the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, there is some question about how much authority state and local have – including environmental and safety regulations and rules about compensating property owners, according to Camp.
“They haven’t put up silt fencing or adequate safety fencing,” the attorney said last week.
Some of the trenches dug as part of the construction are up to 15 feet deep. Camp said one client has the trenches running through the yard where his children play – with no safety fencing.
Camp said Transco is supposed to abide by some stormwater guidelines, and the company has hired compliance monitors.
“They come out and take notes, and nothing gets done,” he sad last week. “We did just this week finally get some folks at EPD focused on it.”
Camp said representatives from EPD visited property owners in Bartow and Coweta as part of the investigation.