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Hancock County mulls inspection requirement for carbon-capture pipeline
HANCOCK COUNTY

Hancock County mulls inspection requirement for carbon-capture pipeline

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Civil Engineer Evan Del Val of ISG met with Hancock County supervisors at their Aug. 30 meeting, extending an offer to provide state-required inspection services for a proposed interstate carbon dioxide pipeline that would cut through the county.

Del Val cited an upcoming informational meeting overseen by the Iowa Utilities Board, which will begin at 1 p.m. on Sept. 28 in the Viaduct Center, 255 Highway 69 South, Garner. He noted that it may be beneficial for supervisors to have county inspection plans for the project solidified prior to this meeting.

Del Val also said that seven other counties have already committed to ISG for inspection on the 32-county project, which would cut across a large part of the state. One of those counties is Kossuth County. The IUB will hold the Kossuth County informational meeting at 6 p.m. on Sept. 27 in the Eagle Center banquet room, 401 Smith Street, Lakota.

The meetings are to inform landowners about a carbon dioxide pipeline of Summit Carbon Solutions, LLC. Summit Carbon cites a proposed carbon capture and storage project in Iowa and four other states, known as the Midwest Carbon Express. This project proposes to partner with ethanol plants in the five states to capture carbon dioxide emissions and transport the liquefied carbon dioxide to North Dakota where it will be stored in “deep underground geologic storage locations.”

Del Val said that the pipeline inspection would be required under Iowa Code chapter 479B.20. He noted that ISG’s inspection services would be a pass-through cost and that “day rates” would be established for ISG inspectors working on the project.

Jim Legge, a potentially impacted area landowner, said he had learned about the pipeline project about two weeks prior.

“How can I be assured every tile is going to get fixed properly,” Legge said. “You should not undercut tile. One concern I have is what actual tile expertise do you have?”

Del Val noted that ISG has experienced pipeline inspectors and thoroughly documents and photographs all things relating to tile issues and concerns. He also said that the IUB requires counties to submit a report on tile repairs and that those tile repairs must be “the same or better than the original tile.”

“ISG does county drainage engineering for six or seven counties in northwest Iowa, with an office in Storm Lake,” Del Val said. “We have previous project experience with tile lines.”

Supervisors decided they want additional time to study the issue and all options. They tabled any action on hiring an inspection firm for the proposed pipeline project until their Sept. 6 weekly meeting.

Del Val noted that the county inspection requirement, if ISG or another inspection company is not hired, would fall to the County Engineer’s office.

“If nobody inspects it, the board (of county supervisors) could be questioned and held responsible,” Del Val said. “Somebody has to go there and be available.”

According to an IUB consumer information brochure, specific land restoration rules are contained in Chapter 9 of Iowa Administrative Code Section 199. During construction, county inspectors enforce land restoration rules. All inspections must be under the supervision of a registered professional engineer. The county board of supervisors may assign inspection duties to the county engineer or hire an outside engineer.

The IUB will also hold a virtual informational meeting that will begin at 5:30 p.m. on Oct. 12 for those unable to attend a series of in-person meetings to be held at various locations across the state. More details and virtual registration information for this meeting will be posted on the IUB’s online hearing and meeting calendar. Information about this proposed pipeline project will also be available on the IUB website at iub.iowa.gov.

Written comments or objections to the proposed pipeline can be filed electronically using the IUB’s Open Docket Comment Form, by email to customer@iub.iowa.gov, or by postal mail to the Iowa Utilities Board, Docket No. HLP-2021-0001, 1375 E. Court Ave., Des Moines, IA 50319.

Rob Hillesland is community editor for the Summit-Tribune. He can be reached at 641-421-0534, or by email at rob.hillesland@globegazette.com.

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