A pipeline construction project looks like a moving assembly line. A large project typically is broken into manageable lengths called “spreads,” and utilizes highly specialized and qualified workgroups. Each spread is composed of various crews, each with its own responsibilities. As one crew completes its work, the next crew moves into position to complete its piece of the construction process.
After Great Basin Gas Transmission Company (Great Basin) has received authorization from the FERC, as well as all necessary permits and easements, construction would proceed as follows:
Land disturbed during the construction period will be returned to as close to original condition as possible. Agricultural lands will be properly restored using approved, modern mitigation techniques designed to ensure full productive reuse of the agricultural lands. Landowners are encouraged to be active participants throughout all phases of the project.
All mitigation techniques used throughout the project will be completed by, and at the expense of, Great Basin. It will be the day-to-day job of the project’s assigned inspectors to monitor and supervise construction and restoration activity for compliance with approved agricultural right-of-way standards relative to the region, as well as all relevant FERC standards.
A right-of-way agreement allows for the use of a portion of your land for locating our pipeline. Landowners are offered financial compensation in exchange for granting a permanent easement to Great Basin. It is important for all landowners to know that the FERC will require compliance with a comprehensive mitigation plan for all land uses, particularly agricultural lands, and will enforce compliance with that plan as part of its ongoing inspection of the construction and restoration activities.
The first essential part of right-of-way “clearing” in farmland areas involves removing the topsoil from the right-of-way. If the topsoil is not fully removed prior to construction, it may be permanently damaged by the pipeline work, due to rutting, compaction, and the inversion and mixing of the soil layers. To avoid this, the topsoil is stripped and stored safely. It must be segregated and stockpiled away from the pipeline trench, the excavated spoil, the pipe assembly area and the traffic zone. The full thickness of the topsoil zone is typically twelve inches.
Because the topsoil is removed and stockpiled for protection, the exposed subsoil serves as the surface of the construction roadway for the duration of the project. This traffic can heavily compact the subsoil. Great Basin’s environmental inspector will test the subsoil to measure compaction. Severely compacted areas will be plowed with a paraplow. In areas where the topsoil has been segregated, the subsoil will be plowed before replacing the segregated topsoil.
Crews will remove excess rock from at least the top 12 inches of soil in all agricultural areas. Once construction is complete, the size, density and distribution of rock within the pipeline work area will be restored to the same consistency as areas not affected by construction.
Great Basin will coordinate with appropriate local, state and federal agencies any construction and restoration. This will include working with local soil conservation authorities or land management agencies to address erosion control and revegetation. Great Basin will also work with appropriate agencies to create specific procedures to prevent the introduction or spread of noxious weeds or soil pests resulting from pipeline construction.
As soon as backfill operations are complete, crews will commence cleanup and restoration activities, including completion of final grading and topsoil replacement. The construction easement will be graded to restore preconstruction contours. The environmental inspector will oversee that the restoration of contours and topsoil are returned to their original condition.