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Natural gas pipeline inches closer to New Canaan

Updated 2:59 pm, Thursday, October 24, 2013

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  • The projected path of the gas pipeline Yankee Gas has proposed to have in New Canaan. The Planning & Zoning Commission approved the project Tuesday night, Oct. 22, 2013. Image courtesy of Yankee Gas. Photo: Contributed Photo, Contributed / New Canaan News Contributed
    The projected path of the gas pipeline Yankee Gas has proposed to have in New Canaan. The Planning & Zoning Commission approved the project Tuesday night, Oct. 22, 2013. Image courtesy of Yankee Gas. Photo: Contributed Photo, Contributed

 

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There were two major updates of note at the Oct. 16 Town Council meeting regarding the proposed natural gas project in New Canaan: A clear and defined plan is at hand and it does not include a gate station in Waveny Park.

"We have reinforced pipes in the North Stamford area where we can run a line," Yankee Gas Sales Manager Mike Collins told the council. "This is a better route because it enables more opportunity for natural gas. My executives are ready to move forward."

The inclusion of a gate station, which is similar to a transfer station for electricity, but smaller, was not popular with some residents, who believe Waveny Park already has enough buildings.

Now, according to Collins, instead of tapping the Tennessee Gas Pipeline, which runs directly under Waveny, gas could be brought in from a pipe just to the west of town, in North Stamford.

The Tennessee Gas Pipeline, owned by Kinder Morgan Inc., is a major artery for natural gas in the country, running from the Gulf Coast of Texas and Louisiana through Pennsylvania and up to Massachusetts.

By using the pipe from North Stamford, Collins said, not only could the park be spared, but more of the town could be served, which would mean serious cost savings for residents and municipal buildings.

Pipelines would run from North Stamford to Ponus Ridge Road, east underneath Frogtown Road and then onto Elm Street and down South Avenue.

According to Collins' price estimates, which he described as conservative, single-family homes could save 48 percent on natural gas over home heating oil, and municipal buildings, such as schools, could save 60 percent. For example, Collins estimated the town could save $385,000 each year by switching to natural gas at New Canaan High, Saxe Middle and South and East elementary schools.

A timetable for the project has not yet been created, but Collins said a public information session would be planned in the near future.

Councilman Robert Hamill asked whether Yankee Gas would pay for the repaving of roads if they're torn up to place natural gas pipes underneath.

Collins said Yankee Gas would try to coincide laying pipe with pre-planned road pavings wherever possible. He noted that Frogtown Road is due to be repaved, and Main Street is planned to be torn up next summer for the placing of water mains. However, for areas where pipe must be laid but are not scheduled for repaving, Yankee Gas would patch the roads after its work.

The pipes, made of polyurethane, are 8 inches in diameter and will lie 30 to 40 inches beneath the ground. The trenches would be about 18 inches wide.

Though the plans remain preliminary, Collins said all of New Canaan eventually could be serviced by natural gas in the coming years.

"I'm not excluding any part of town whatsoever," he said.

The proposal was approved by the Planning and Zoning Commission Tuesday night.

"Our scope is narrow," P&Z Chairman Laszlo Papp said. "We are not approving pipes, we are only saying this plan is not contradictory to the POCD (Plan of Conservation and Development)."

But Tuesday morning, the action on the proposal was postponed by the Board of Selectmen.

"There's no hang-ups, it's just getting the language right," First Selectman Robert Mallozzi said.

Selectman Nick Williams agreed that the proposal was almost ready for approval.

"I am highly confident that in two weeks we'll have this buttoned up," he said.

twoods@bcnnew.com; 203-330-6582; @Woods_NCNews