Larson Design Group (LDG) provided natural gas pipeline environmental services for this 8.5 mile pipeline located in Tioga County, Pennsylvania.

This pipeline is proposed to connect development areas in two tracts of land in the Tioga State Forest. LDG assisted the client’s landmen and their land acquisition team in identifying the best feasible pipeline route. During pipeline routing, LDG environmental personnel provided guidance by identifying a pipeline route which would avoid major environmentally sensitive areas while maintaining a safe and sensible option for constructability. Obstacles encountered during the routing of this pipeline consisted of large rock outcrops and boulder fields, presence of large forested wetlands, stream crossings, steep slopes, and accessibility to the project corridor.

Development of this project overcame significant environmental obstacles relating to abundance of aquatic resources, steep slopes and difficult terrain, potential presence of threatened and endangered species, limited accessibility to the project corridor, and coordination and obtaining approval from DCNR.

During the routing phase for this project, LDG delineated wetlands and watercourses within a 400-foot wide corridor. LDG assisted our client by laying out a pipeline route which posed the least amount of impacts to identified wetlands and streams. LDG also provided an environmental review of two proposed access routes which will be used to access the pipeline corridor. Upon completion of fieldwork, a wetland delineation report was prepared for the study corridor and access areas. Based on results of the wetland delineation, additional work areas were established along the pipeline corridor.

Additional environmental services completed for this project included a functional assessment of wetlands identified on DCNR Property; a botanical survey to obtain clearances for potential PNDI impacts involving Creeping Snowberry, Torrey’s Bulrush, and Showy Mountain Ash; a macroinvertebrate survey to document aquatic conditions within the Tioga River; coordination with PA Fish & Boat Commission; and obtainment of a Submerged Lands License Agreement.

Upon completion of environmental fieldwork and final design, LDG assisted our Client by working with DCNR to gain approval for the proposed pipeline route. Once approval was granted, LDG prepared and submitted a Joint Permit Application to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACOE) for proposed wetland and stream impacts. As part of the original project design, LDG designed a detailed Horizontal Directional Drill (HDD) and associated Contingency Plan to cross the Tioga River. Once submitted, our Client opted to change their desired plan for crossing the Tioga River to an open cut of the river bed. LDG worked closely with PADEP, USACOE, and DCNR to scout a proper location to cross the river with an open cut. This location was quickly approved by the regulatory agencies. LDG analyzed the flow in the river and sized pipes to prepare a detailed flume-type crossing to allow the river to be crossed quickly and at a minimal cost to the client. By completing the open cut, LDG was able to reduce costs to the client and reduce the overall area of impact for the project, thereby avoiding impacts to mature timber located along the river crossing.