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Published: 2/13/2014 - Updated: 2 months ago

MAUMEE-PERRYSBURG

Columbia Gas requests replacement of pipeline

Mile-long project expected to cost $7M

BY JON CHAVEZ
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER

Columbia Gas of Ohio Inc. has asked state regulators for permission to replace a mile-long, 12-inch diameter pipeline that crosses the Maumee River between Maumee and Perrysburg with a new 20-inch pipeline.

The company has released few details about the project, known as the Maumee-Perrysburg River Crossing project. It filed a formal request on Feb. 6 with the Ohio Power Siting Board to seek permission for the project.

The new pipeline would begin at Mohawk Drive in Maumee, cross under the river bed west of the Maumee-Perrysburg bridge, and terminate at a Columbia Gas facility on Fort Meigs Road in Perrysburg.

If it gains permission, Columbia Gas said in its filing that it would first spend about two weeks in early March clearing soil and vegetation, then begin construction of the pipeline around July 1. The project is expected to be completed about Dec. 1.

When it is completed, the old pipeline will be purged of gas, capped, and left in place.

The estimated cost of the project is $7 million, the utility said.

Columbia Gas said the new 20-inch wide pipeline, which is made of welded steel with an epoxy coating, would replace an old, bare steel pipeline “which is corroded and has required Columbia to repair multiple leaks.”

The utility said replacement of the old line is necessary to continue providing safe and reliable service to its Toledo-area customers. Columbia will have to obtain several new easements to construct the pipeline because parts of it will be built in areas where it does not already have easements.

The company deemed the corridor with the existing 12-inch wide line unsuitable because it would have meant a longer distance to cross the river, and it would have also infringed on some residential properties.

The proposed crossing will put it closer to the Maumee Gate, which is Columbia Gas’ main natural gas line on the west side of its Ohio service territory.

From the Maumee Gate, Columbia Gas draws natural gas from a Chicago connection, from the Plains states, and from the Gulf of Mexico, company spokesman Chris Kozak said.

The spokesman said the project will be similar to a 2006 project where Columbia Gas put in a 20-inch- wide, 2,850-foot long pipeline to replace two 10-inch wide, 70-year-old pipelines that connected downtown Toledo with East Toledo.

That project cost $2 million and took two months to complete. While the Maumee-Perrysburg River Crossing project is more costly and will take longer, the construction method will be the same, Mr. Kozak said.

The utility will use a high- density drill to bore a tunnel under the river, then pull the new pipeline through the tunnel.

The tunnel in the earlier project was about 30 feet below the river bed, which was 35 feet deep at the drilling site.

Although the Columbia Gas pipeline will connect with the utility’s existing lines in Perrysburg near Fort Meigs, it has no association with a pipeline in Perrysburg that cuts across property near Dixie Highway and Eckel Junction Road that is being considered by Costco for a new Wood County store.

That pipeline is a 40-inch wide, high-volume interstate gas transmission line owned by Columbia Gas Transmission Inc., of Charleston, W.Va., and used to transport natural gas over vast distances between the Gulf of Mexico and Great Lakes and eastern U.S. states.

The Columbia Gas of Ohio lines are local distribution lines used to transmit gas to area residential and business customers.

Columbia Gas of Ohio and Columbia Gas Transmission are separate firms, but both are wholly owned subsidiaries of NiSource Inc. of Merrillville, Ind.

Contact Jon Chavez at: jchavez@theblade.com or 419-724-6128.



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