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Medina group worried about emissions at Nexus station

Posted at 4:51 PM, May 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-03 10:28:49-04

SEVILLE, Ohio — A Medina County group that fought against the Nexus pipeline is raising concerns about emissions from the Wadsworth Compressor Station on Guilford Road.

Sustainable Medina County requested Earthworks, a Washington D.C. organization, to use an infrared camera to record emissions from the station March 15.

The video of unknown gases going into the air was shared on YouTube.

"Looking at it should cause anyone concern. That plume is coming out of that compression station daily," said Kathie Jones, co-founder of Sustainable Medina County. "We need to know what's in there. We need to know how it's going to affect our air, our water and our environment."

The 256-mile pipeline began operating last November.

Mary Emhoff, a Brunswick Hills resident, fears the emissions could cause health problems for nearby residents.

"When they do blowdowns, this pipeline is under 1,500 PSI (pounds per square inch). Your car tires are 35 PSI. That's a lot of compressed gas," Emhoff said. "These pipelines do have leaks. They do explode in addition to the pollution that's going out every day."

Adam Parker, a spokesman for Enbridge, which shares ownership of the pipeline, said emissions from compressor station are comparable to dry cleaners, gas stations or small paint shops.

"The group's news release attempts to sensationalize the operation of the station, all while acknowledging that the facility holds a permit from the Ohio EPA which went through an extensive regulatory review and public comment period nearly three years ago," Parker said.

James Lee, a spokesman for the Ohio EPA, said Nexus received a permit to install and operate the natural gas compressor station in 2016.

Before issuing the permit as final, Ohio EPA reviewed the application to ensure emissions would comply with state and federal pollution standards, laws and regulations, Lee said.

"The regulations applicable to this natural gas compressor station do not require zero air pollution," Lee said. "The majority of emissions from gas release events are associated with routine planned operations such as startup and shutdown, reduced pressure demand events or maintenance activities," Lee said.

Akron Regional Air Quality Management District did a partial inspection of the facility March 15 — the same day the video was recorded— and determined it was in compliance. A representative for the air quality organization said it also conducts random inspections at the station.

Jones said her organization has contracted with the Southwest Pennsylvania Environmental Health Project to do air quality testing. After the results are received later this year, a public meeting will be scheduled to discuss the findings with the community.