DAYTON — A natural gas pipeline could be built to the Tongue River Valley off of an existing gas line on Fifth Street, but it isn’t the only possible location to choose from.
WWC Engineering took on the project to get natural gas to the Tongue River Valley in August, and they recently met with representatives from Montana-Dakota Utilities with hopes of establishing a future connection to that Fifth Street line.
Chad Reed, WWC engineer, told the Tongue River Valley Joint Powers Board Thursday that he’s still waiting to hear back from MDU about other access points, but Fifth Street has promise.
“I really feel that the west Fifth Street is more than likely to be the preferred alternative if we can make a go of it,” Reed said.
He said that starting location is just one option and in the future there should be three alternate locations from which the natural gas line could begin.
“They haven’t told us no on anything yet, but at the same time we haven’t received a whole lot of information, so that, it’s just going to be a matter of us staying on top of them,” Reed said. WWC and MDU did have a meeting on Oct. 6.
Although a definitive route will depend on where the starting point of the line is, the board members are looking at easements they would need along select roads when they build the proposed six-inch pipeline.
But a lot of the homes leading to Ranchester and Dayton may not be able to be serviced by the future pipeline because they currently fall within the service area of the city of Sheridan. So board members and engineers expressed plans to simply build the pipeline to Ranchester and Dayton, and branch out from those two service points.
This also creates a problem with consumption, as the original idea was to get as many people connected to the line as possible in order to keep costs down and meet consumer needs. Reed said MDU’s current plan seems to include a lot of natural gas, probably based on those original ideas.
“It might have been an overestimation of what the demands would be, at least for the short term,” Reed said.
Additionally, if MDU did take on the TRVJPB as a customer, the joint powers board and MDU would have to come to an agreement on what MDU needs to do upkeep on.
“One of our acton items was to develop, basically, a list of procedures that we would like MDU to take on,” Reed said.
Repair is just one of the many items the board needs to keep in mind moving forward.
Reed suggested public meetings could begin as soon as November or early December.
However, since this is all part of a feasibility study, the board could still change much of the plan before any such meeting takes place.
The study is being funded with a $100,000 grant from the State Loan and Investment Board.
Once the feasibility study is completed, the board will likely apply for a grant and loan, but the amount will not be decided until that time.