Comments Needed on Noise from Compressor Stations Sept. 1 & 14: August 7, 2015

Comments Needed on Noise from Compressor Stations

The DEP Division of Air Quality (DAQ)  is considering issuing a revised “general permit” for air quality at compressor stations (G35-C).  There are downsides to general permits, which we detailed in our recent newsletter. However, with the G35-C, the DAQ is proposing limiting noise from compressor stations.  This is good news.  Of course, the industry is bound to push back.  We need to support the DAQ and DEP in this regard. 

There is a “public meeting” this Tuesday, September 1 from 6PM to 8PM at DEP headquarters in Charleston “to provide information on the permitting action”.  As part of that public meeting, the DEP/DAQ will make a presentation.  After the presentation, citizens (and industry) will be provided time to comment and ask questions.  DEP/DAQ needs from the citizens that noise from compressor stations is a problem that needs to be addressed and that the public is in favor of including noise requirements in the permit. Members of the public will likely have 3-5 minutes to speak (maybe 10 minutes depending on attendance and the number of people who want to speak).

DEP Headquarters are located at 601 57th Street SE, Charleston, WV 25304.  If you are able to attend, you don’t have to go through the front door and check in. You can enter directly to the conference room at the back of the building where the meeting will be held.
Please let us know if you plan to attend so we can watch for you at the meeting.

For those who are unable to attend can submit written comments about problems with compressor stations noise and in support of the including noise (and light) requirements in the general permit.

Written comments should be submitted to:

Jerry Williams
West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection
Division of Air Quality
601 57th Street, SE
Charleston, WV 25304

or via email to: jerry.williams@wv.gov

The deadline for submitting written comments is September 14.

The specific language being proposed is:

 “3.2.8.  The registrant shall not create a nuisance to the surrounding community by way of unreasonable noise and light during operation.”

On one hand we like this because because nuisance is different in different places for the different activities that people have on their land. On the other hand it is not be as predictable and clear as setting decibel limits. The inclusion of a nuisance noises standard is needed and could help landowners protect the value of their property and the enjoyment of their homes, where a decibel standard may not cover all “nuisance” noise.

The new general permit is also making other changes with regard to air emissions.  We are still studying those, but support improvements that limit air pollution from compressor stations and other oil and gas production facilities covered by the permit.

We’ll try to send out more specific talking points on the general permit before the September 14 comment deadline.  In the meantime, we hope to see some of you in Charleston on September 1.

Please reply to this email if you have any questions.

Background and Additional Information:

This permit replaces a portion of the G80-A permit, which attempted to combine a number of existing general permits into one. After reviewing comment received on the G80-A from various parties including WV-SORO (see our recent newsletter for details), the DAQ decided it this was not workable and decided instead to issue two general permits for oil and natural gas facilities — one for well sites and another for compressor stations.  Facilities governed by existing general permits will continue under those permits, until an operator makes modifications or administrative updates to registrations issued under those permits. New facilities and modifications will fall under the new general permit.

To review documents from DAQ related to the general permit visit http://www.dep.wv.gov/daq/Pages/default.aspx.

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