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PIPA Recommended Practice ND18

ND18 "Consider Transmission Pipeline Operation Noise and Odor in Design and Location of Residential, Mixed-Use, and Commercial Land Use Development"

Practice Statement Consider noise, odor and other issues when planning and locating developments near above-ground transmission pipeline facilities, such as compressor stations, pumping stations, odorant equipment, regulator stations and other pipeline appurtenances.

Audience(s): Local Government, Property Developer and Owner, Transmission Pipeline Operator

Practice Description

Aboveground transmission pipeline facilities, such as compressor stations, pumping stations, regulator stations, launcher/receiver stations and other pipeline appurtenances may generate noise and odors. These may not be initially noticed in some settings. However, they may be noticeable when land use is modified or a development is placed near the pipeline facility. These changes may place people in close proximity to the aboveground pipeline facilities for extended periods of time. Plans for land use and development should attempt to minimize exposures to these types of facilities.

Examples of aboveground pipeline operation and maintenance activities that may impact adjacent land development include:

  • The operation of gas compressor or pump station machinery may generate noise and odors;
  • Start-up and shut-down activities may produce noise and odors;
  • Heat exchangers or other equipment may produce visible emissions, such as steam, to the air;
  • Some pressure limiting stations may include relief valves that may release gas to the atmosphere;
  • Facilities used to odorize natural gas are designed to minimize odorant emissions; however, occasional releases or spills could occur that could concern nearby residents;
  • Backup power generators may be operated periodically, resulting in noise and odor; and
  • Facility repairs and maintenance may require the operation of heavy construction equipment.

The property developer/owner and the transmission pipeline operator may consider additional measures to further reduce noise or visible effects from these facilities. For example, sound-insulating equipment, such as silencers or sound-reduction air plenums, natural foliage, increased separation distance, and other sound attenuating considerations may mitigate noise concerns. Additionally, land use and development around gas compressor and pumping stations should avoid practices or layouts that would adversely affect normal operation and maintenance of the pipeline facility. For example, power lines providing electric service to compressor/pumping stations need to be integrated into developments so that the service is not compromised.

The transmission pipeline operator should provide information regarding its aboveground pipeline facilities to the local government authority having jurisdiction for regulating land use and development. The purpose for providing information is to ensure there is adequate understanding of the operational impacts of the facilities and to encourage them to incorporate pipeline coordination in their plan approval process (see PIPA Recommended Practice BL03). The local government authority should use this information to establish requirements for land use and development around the particular aboveground sites based upon the guidance on specific land uses provided in the PIPA recommended practices.