What is the project all about?
Washington Gas is constructing new infrastructure to improve the delivery of natural gas for Prince George’s County and the entire region. The planned project, which will be built mostly in public right-of-ways, paves the way for economic growth and serving more residents with clean, affordable natural gas service. The investment in infrastructure will include approximately 16 miles of coated steel natural gas pipeline and regulation stations connecting two portions of Washington Gas’ existing system. The project begins near the corner of Frank Tippett Road and Route 301 and continues north to a location on Brightseat Road near the corner of Route 202 in Landover, Maryland. For more information, please download our Project Fact Sheet.
Who is Washington Gas?
Washington Gas Light Company (WGL) is a regulated natural gas utility providing safe, reliable natural gas service to more than 1.1 million customers in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia. A subsidiary of WGL Holdings, Inc., the company has been providing energy to residential, commercial, and industrial customers for nearly 170 years.
Who is WGL?
WGL is a publicly traded company (NYSE: WGL), headquartered in Washington, D.C., and a leading source for clean, efficient and diverse energy solutions. With activities and assets across the U.S., WGL consists of Washington Gas, WGL Energy, WGL Midstream and Hampshire Gas. WGL provides natural gas, electricity, green power and energy services, including generation, storage, transportation, distribution, supply and efficiency. Our calling as a company is to make energy surprisingly easy for our employees, our community and all our customers.
When will the Project start construction?
Washington Gas is currently working on selecting an appropriate route that addresses the requirements of numerous stakeholders. After an alignment is selected, easement will need to be purchased and numerous permits and approvals from government agencies will need to be obtained. The process of planning and permitting is expected to take until the end of 2017 or beginning of 2018. When permitting is completed, construction can begin.
When will the Project be completed?
We are planning for an in-service date prior to the 2020/2021 winter season. The actual date depends on a number of factors, including the final alignment and construction start date.
Will the pipeline be safe?
Our number one priority is to provide safe and reliable natural gas service. Washington Gas uses a number of tools to make the natural gas distribution system one of the safest forms of energy transportation. Our safety programs include:
- Participation in excavation damage prevention initiatives and membership in the 811 one call system;
- Installing above-ground markers to indicate the location of buried gas lines;
- Performing visual inspections and leak surveys of our system to identify potential problems;
- Maintaining rigid requirements for qualification and inspection of construction techniques used in our system; and
- Supporting research and development focused on inspection technologies, pipeline integrity, corrosion prevention and construction techniques.
Where is the Project?
The planned route for the pipeline begins near the corner of Frank Tippett Road and US Route 301 and runs north to the Landover, MD area just north of FedEx Field.
How big is the pipeline?
The pipeline will be 24-inch diameter coated steel.
What will the pipeline pressure be?
The Maximum Allowable Operating Pressure (MAOP) will be 400 pounds per square inch (PSI).
How deep will the pipeline be buried?
For safety purposes, the pipeline will be buried with a minimum of three feet of cover. It may be deeper in specific locations where it crosses other utilities, certain roads, streams, wetlands, agricultural fields, and other areas.
Will the pipeline cross my property?
We are still in the planning process. Washington Gas anticipates that the final route will use a combination of public and private property. We have sent letters to landowners that are potentially crossed by the pipeline and have corresponded with jurisdictional government agencies that own or manage public properties that will potentially be crossed. If you received a letter, there is a potential that your property will be crossed by the final route. If you have not received a letter, then your property has not yet been considered as part of a potential route or we do not have the correct contact information for your property. After the route is determined, we will reach out to landowners that are crossed to discuss an easement.
Who do I contact if I think the route is crossing my property and I have not received a letter from WGL?
We obtain contact information for landowners crossed by the pipeline from tax data and deed information that is publicly available. In some instances, the information may be out-of-date. If you believe that your property will be crossed, please submit a comment via the Contact Us page and provide the physical address, GPS coordinates, or a map showing the location of the property and a Washington Gas representative will get back to you.
Who are stakeholders?
A stakeholder is any person, group, or organization with interest in or concern regarding the project. Stakeholders could be landowners, public officials, community members or organizations, environmental agencies and interested parties, local business owners, contractors, etc.
Will the pipeline negatively affect the value of my property?
We are committed to treating each impacted landowner with honesty, integrity, and fairness. After the route is finalized, a land agent will submit an offer that is intended to compensate the landowner for the fair value of an easement on the property as well as potential damages that may result from construction activities.
Will there be public meetings?
Yes. Washington Gas hosted a Project Open House on June 8, 2017 from 6pm-8pm at the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 89 in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. Washington Gas anticipates additional meetings, including public meetings that may be scheduled at the request of county or state agencies to supplement local outreach. If a public meeting is held, we will post the time and location in the Project News section of this website.
Is there a map of the proposed route?
Washington Gas is currently working to finalize a route and is reviewing several potential routes. We will post a more detailed map to this website once the route is finalized.
What is a right-of-way?
There are two types of easements that are generally sought for construction and operation of a pipeline: permanent and temporary rights-of-way. Permanent right-of-way is the width required along the route during the operation of the pipeline. Markers will be installed for the benefit of ground maintenance (e.g. lawn mowers and landscapers) and as warnings for potential excavations near the pipeline. Temporary right-of-way is the additional width required during construction to allow for equipment to traverse the pipeline, store materials and string pipeline. The permanent right-of-way is generally 40 feet wide and the additional temporary right-of-way is generally 35 feet wide for a total width during construction of 75 feet. Once construction and restoration activities are complete, the temporary right-of-way agreement will cease to exist and the permanent right-of-way will continue for the life of the pipeline.
What is a land agent?
Land agents are trained professionals that assist in planning and development of natural gas pipelines as well as other energy projects. They:
- Identify landowners from local property records along the proposed corridor
- Notify landowners of a proposed project
- Meet with landowners to explain the details of the project, the process for acquiring right-of-way, and potential impacts along the proposed pipeline route
- Identify specific concerns landowners may have with the proposed route and facilities
- Work with landowners, project engineers, and environmental specialists to address these concerns
- Arrange meetings to begin negotiations for the necessary right of ways (easements)
What kind of negotiations will Washington Gas engage in to secure right-of-way easements and what does that mean for landowners?
Before beginning negotiations for new permanent easement rights, Washington Gas will hire an independent, accredited real estate appraiser who is familiar with the project area. The appraiser will develop a market study of land values based on recent sales in the communities crossed by the project. Based on the appraiser’s analysis, as well as other factors, Washington Gas and the land agent will determine the value (or compensation) for the necessary permanent and temporary easement rights. If permanent and/or temporary easement rights are necessary, the land agent will review the calculated values with the landowner in an effort to purchase the Grant of Easement and reach an agreement for compensation. After an agreement is reached on the amount of compensation and the language of the Grant of Easement, the easement agreement will be executed and a check will be issued to the landowner.
What kind of compensation will landowners receive in return for use of their property?
Washington Gas will compensate landowners fairly for two different aspects related to the use of the property for the pipeline.
Easement Rights – We will pay fair market value for the rights and interest being acquired as it crosses the landowner’s property. Washington Gas will also pay a rental value for additional land rights required on a temporary basis for use during construction.
Damages – In accordance with the provisions contained in the easement or related agreements, Washington Gas will pay for damages to structures, landscaping or decorative trees directly impacted by the construction of the facilities. We will repair items, such as drain tiles, fences, streets, roads and driveways, and will restore, to the best of our ability, the property to its pre-construction contours.
Who owns the property if there is a permanent easement?
The permanent easement agreement will give Washington Gas certain rights to construct, maintain, and operate the pipeline. However the landowner retains ownership of the land covered by the easement. In most cases, the landowner’s use of the land within the easement area, with certain limitations, will remain the same as before construction. If the property is sold, the rights and responsibilities under the easement will stay with the property under the new owner. Temporary easement rights, obtained for construction purposes, typically will expire once the temporary workspace is re-established and stabilized consistent with state and county approvals. Upon expiration of these rights, the landowner will resume full use and ownership of the land under temporary easement.
Will Washington Gas use eminent domain?
Washington Gas is committed to serving the communities in which we operate and treating the people that we work with honestly and fairly. We have not used eminent domain as a negotiating tool and view it only as a last resort. We begin each easement negotiation with the expectation that a mutual agreement can be reached with the landowner. In the unlikely event that we cannot reach an agreement with a landowner and must obtain the easement interests through the eminent domain process, a court will determine the appropriate compensation in a valuation proceeding.
Washington Gas asked for permission to conduct studies on my property. What studies does WGL need to do?
The studies are for permitting, planning, and appraisal purposes. Studies include environmental studies such as wetland delineations, forest stand delineations, threatened and endangered species evaluations, archaeological investigations, civil surveys, appraisals, and geotechnical investigations. Most of the studies involve a small team of two to six staff members on foot evaluating portions of the proposed easement or study area. Evidence of the environmental studies may include plastic ribbon or small flags around streams and wetlands. The civil survey will include temporary paint on pavement and stakes with writing to indicate the proposed centerline. Geotechnical investigations involve a small drilling rig mounted on a truck or skid that will bore to a depth of approximately 30 to 60 feet depending on the location to collect soil samples for planning of horizontal directional drill or conventional bores across certain features such as streams and busy roads. The surveys on an individual property usually require less than a day each. However, staff may need to revisit locations to address data that may have been missed due to inclement weather, equipment problems or other causes.
What if I have questions while a survey is ongoing at my property?
Please contact the land agent that has been communicating with you or if necessary submit a comment via our website.
If my land was surveyed, does that mean the pipeline will cross my property?
Washington Gas is required to minimize environmental impacts when designing the project. In order to determine the environmental impacts, we survey multiple potential routes that appear feasible based on desktop reviews of publicly available information and communications with other stakeholders. Based on the results of these studies and communications, Washington Gas will select and refine the alignment. Providing access to the property to conduct these necessary surveys does not authorize Washington Gas to build a pipeline on the property.