MOUNT VERNON — A gas pipeline in southern Clinton and Liberty townships laid in March by Knox Energy Inc. was an issue of concern expressed by the Knox County Commissioners when they met Thursday morning with Glenn Hackett of Bennett and Williams, an environmental consultant for Knox County.
The commissioners were aware of the pipeline being laid and had previously viewed a map of the proposed route the pipeline would take. But recent observations have led them to believe that the pipeline deviated from the proposed path where it was to be laid. Separate map images shared by Hackett showed a proposed pipeline route as well as an apparent laid pipeline route based on ground disturbance observed on March 22. “It’s not where we thought it was going to be,” said Commissioner Allen Stockberger after observing the apparent laid pipeline route map.
The issue this creates is that the apparent laid pipeline sits rather close to a monitoring well in southwest Clinton Township. “It’s closer than we wanted,” said Commissioner Teresa Bemiller, after examining where the well sits in relation to the pipeline.
Hackett stated that water samplings can be taken from the area where it can be determined if the samples meet the optimal performance based on the criteria gathered.
“It’s disheartening because there was the opportunity to coordinate and communicate the moving of this (pipeline) further west,” said Hackett. The pipeline does cut across residential properties at certain points. He added that there appears to be available right-of-way lease options with the property owners. Hackett stated he made requests for information from Knox Energy in March and has not received any response.
The commissioners will be drafting a letter to the Knox County Prosecutor advising him of the commissioners’ needs of obtaining an “as built” map of the pipeline with descriptions of the depth and elevations. The letter is to also include a statement informing Knox Energy that they would be responsible for any costs incurred due to any necessary pipeline relocation.
“I think this recommendation should be a way to try to assist not from a punitive standpoint but rather to help you get the information from the utilities,” said Hackett.
“I think we should be able to obtain cooperation,” said Stockberger.
Representatives from Knox Energy could not be reached for comment.