Wetlands permit endorsed for Chesapeake Utilities pipeline into Somerset County

BALTIMORE — The Maryland Department of the Environment’s Tidal Wetlands Division is recommending the Board of Public Works (BPW) grant a wetlands permit to Chesapeake Utilities to allow for the installation of an 8-inch pipeline to carry natural gas from Eden to Westover to serve UMES and Eastern Correctional Institution.

The pipe that will be run some 10.75 miles will cross 140 linear feet of three tidal tributaries — the Manokin River, Taylor Branch and King’s Creek.

The recommendation for approval cites several conditions, including all other permits and approvals such as Critical Area requirements be met, that no horizontal directional drilling occur from March 1 through June 15 to minimize impacts on spawning fish, and that a full-time independent environmental monitor be retained prior to the start of construction.

A pre-construction meeting must also be held with the Wetlands Administrator and others in attendance, and pre- and post-construction water quality tests be conducted on wells located within 150 feet of the construction area.

A public hearing about the permit request was held online Sept. 17 with the comment period ending Oct. 1. Final approval rests with the BPW, which will also considering the request to approve extending a gas pipeline from Salisbury to the Somerset County line.

Chesapeake Utilities anticipates the project will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by switching fuels used at UMES and ECI, as well as other commercial and residential customers that tap into the new line.