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Spectra Pipeline Project Noise Rattles Residents; Cortlandt Files Complaint

Cortlandt has filed two formal complaints about the noise being created by Spectra Energy’'s Algonquin Incremental Market gas pipeline project.
Cortlandt has filed two formal complaints about the noise being created by Spectra Energy’'s Algonquin Incremental Market gas pipeline project. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Erica Mills

CORTLANDT, N.Y. -- Noise from work on Spectra Energy’s new gas pipeline has not only rattled nearby residents, it has chased a few from their homes, and Cortlandt Supervisor Linda Puglisi said she’s beyond fed up.

Puglisi pointed out in a statement Friday that while the town has been battling the Algonquin Incremental Market project for three years, it has “no jurisdiction over any work performed.”

That responsibility falls in the lap of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, she said.

Puglisi said she, and residents, are both extremely “frustrated” with the situation, but the racket made by Spectra’s pneumatic hammers Thursday evening likely was the final straw.

The town, which wants no nighttime noise period, has filed official complaints with FERC and Spectra, Puglisi said, urging residents to do the same.

  • Spectra hotline for homeowners: 1-866-873-2579.
  • FERC’s customer service: 1-866-208-3372 – FERC Document Number CP-14-96.
  • FERC landowner hotline : 1-877-337-2237.

Spectra itself filed a construction schedule and a noise contingency plan on FERC’s website Friday, Puglisi said.

In a Sept. 2 letter to Kimberly Bose, commission secretary, Spectra described the reasons for the din and laid out plans for dealing with it. On Saturday, Aug. 27, it said, workers began the “pullback” of the 42-inch, high-pressure pipeline that is running under the Hudson River.

Somehow, a “drill string” used to pull the pipeline to a horizontal directional drill hole broke.

Spectra said 3,100 feet of pipeline had been pulled back, but the total distance it had to go was close to 5,000 feet.

The company said it was forced to initiate “activities on the east side of the river on a 24-hour basis” in order to remove the stuck pipe, which is “critical” to the project’s completion. Initials efforts to free the pipe were unsuccessful, Spectra said.

On Tuesday, it had to use pneumatic hammers to extract 191 feet of the pipe. They were deployed, it said, five times for a total of 21 minutes. Spectra used different methods on Wednesday, but were unsuccessful.

On Thursday, it used the pneumatic hammers again, 30 different times, for a total of 90 minutes. This time, workers got about 832 more feet free.

Spectra said it planned to continue work through the Labor Day weekend to un-stick the remainder of the pipeline, but would only use the jackhammers when everything else failed. Saying it it trying to do the right thing, Spectra added it was “evaluating if it’s feasible” to move extraction work to the daytime to “help mitigate noise issues.”

It has notified local officials, staffed a complaint hotline 24/7 and kept two agents on-site during periods of construction activity to “respond to issues.” It said it also notified residents and distributed dozens of informational flyers on Tuesday and Thursday.

Spectra said it “compensated” about 18 households for having to temporarily re-locate because of the noise and is thinking of expanding the offer to more residents.

Spectra said it is doing other things to cut the noise, including: erecting sound abatement barriers on the eastern end of the construction site, using low-noise air compressors with sound-suppressing enclosures, and hanging sound “blankets” on fencing near St. Patrick’s Church on 11th Street.

Noise monitoring stations have been set up at the intersections of Highland Avenue and 9th Street and Broadway and 11th Street, as well as at St. Patrick’s Church and near 214 11th St.

Actual noise readings, it told FERC in the letter, “can be provided on request.”

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