What is the Southern Reliability Link?
The Southern Reliability Link (SRL) is a connection between the natural gas distribution system that serves our customers in Ocean, Burlington and Monmouth counties, and the interstate pipeline system adjacent to the New Jersey Turnpike. It will serve as a second major feed to support the safe, reliable, resilient distribution of natural gas to our customers.
Why is it needed?
Currently, Ocean, Burlington and Monmouth counties are served by one primary, major interstate pipeline, which runs through Middlesex County on the northern edge of our system. Because the majority of the natural gas is supplied through this location, NJNG's customers in Monmouth, Ocean and Burlington counties could be adversely affected by a supply interruption or system failure.
If the lessons learned from Superstorm Sandy have taught us anything, it is the need for infrastructure reliability and resiliency. The SRL is being developed to provide a major interstate connection into the southern end of our system. This second feed is essential to ensuring reliable service and a diversified supply of natural gas for our customers in the region.
Where will the SRL go?
The SRL will begin at the supply point of the interstate pipeline in Chesterfield Township, Burlington County, and continue through North Hanover, Upper Freehold and Plumsted until it enters the Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst. From the base, the SRL connects with our system in Manchester Township.
The total distance is approximately 30 miles.
Why don't you use the existing JCP&L utility easement?
- What our analysis clearly shows is the route that partially follows an existing Jersey Central Power & Light easement would have a far greater overall impact on the community and the environment as it would pass through more municipalities, cross environmentally sensitive wetlands and impact preserved farmland. And since property on which this easement resides includes preserved farmland, a project such as the SRL would be expressly prohibited by law. As a result, the JCP&L easement is not a viable route for the SRL.
What benefits will the SRL provide?
By reinforcing the supply of natural gas with a second feed from a separate interstate pipeline, the SRL will help mitigate potential customer interruptions, enhance system resiliency and ensure safe, reliable natural gas service for the region. It will improve our entire core transmission system so that it would be fed from opposite ends by two separate interstate suppliers.
The SRL also serves to strengthen the reliability and resiliency of the natural gas distribution system that serves the Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst and supports its critical mission.
By supporting this major driver of the economy, and jobs in Monmouth, Ocean and Burlington counties, the SRL will provide tangible benefits to the entire region.
What will the construction look like?
Approximately 90 percent of the project will be installed within existing road rights-of-way. Multiple construction crews will work simultaneously on different sections of the project. Each construction site will be approximately one-quarter mile long. Work will include trenching and backfilling, as well as the preparation and moving of pipe. Traffic control, road closings, detour routes as well as the need for night work will be coordinated with local police and township officials. Emergency access will always be allowed. In an effort to minimize any inconvenience, daily construction activities will be coordinated with residents and businesses adjacent to the construction. At the end of the workday, the road will be opened for normal traffic.
How will you restore the impacted land?
- We are committed to identifying a responsible route that minimizes the impact to the community and the environment while also ensuring resiliency for our system and reliable service for our customers. By largely confining our work to existing roadways, we are committed to avoiding preserved open space and farmland, trees, wetlands and threatened and endangered species’ habitats.
Where we are not in a public roadway, we will work with the private property owners to develop easement agreements that assure their properties will be restored to their satisfaction.
Once restoration is completed, can the land be used again?
- Yes. Permanent structures, such as a shed, garage, home or trees, may not be placed within the easement limits, but otherwise the land can be used as normal. Easements will be developed with the property owner to minimize any impact on their land use.
Will the SRL reduce my property value?
According to a study by the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America Foundation (INGAA) to determine the effects of natural gas pipelines on real estate values, “there is no discernable impact on demand for properties located along natural gas pipelines. Furthermore, the existence of a pipeline did not impede development of the surrounding properties.” A copy of the study may be found on INGAA’s Web site, Natural Gas Pipeline Impact on Land Values.
Additionally, the January/February 2011 edition of the International Right of Way Association (IRWA) publication, “Right of Way,” includes a study entitled "The Effect of Natural Gas Pipelines on Residential Value." The results of this particular study show that the researchers could “… not identify a systematic relationship between proximity to the pipeline and sale price or value.”
Who will use this natural gas?
The SRL will support the delivery of natural gas service to 83 municipalities throughout Monmouth, Ocean and Burlington counties, benefitting over one million people. They, along with the Joint Base, are the primary beneficiaries of SRL and the improved reliability of our system.
Will this project allow me to get natural gas at my house?
- The SRL is designed to transport natural gas from the interstate pipeline system to NJNG’s distribution system. If you are interested in receiving natural gas service at your home, you should contact your local distribution company.
What is your commitment to safety?
The safety of the general public, our customers and employees is the highest priority of NJNG. We are proud of our strong tradition and record of safe operation. We voluntarily adhere to the highest standards of safety, even when we are not required to do so. NJNG follows the most stringent federal and state design standards for projects such as this.
The SRL will be monitored 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Remotely controlled valves will be installed along the project, giving NJNG the ability to shut down the flow of natural gas. Also, we will conduct a leak survey of the entire SRL every year, and perform physical inspections of the full route every month.
Federal regulations require us to have effective Emergency Response and Operating and Maintenance Procedures in place. We periodically revise our emergency plans, keep them current and ensure state, county and local emergency management personnel are familiar with our system. We work closely with emergency responders and local officials in our communities to prevent and prepare for emergencies.
Once complete, what do I do if I smell natural gas?
- Since natural gas has no scent, a strong odorant that smells like rotten eggs is added to help you detect possible leaks. If you smell natural gas, call NJNG at 800-GAS-LEAK (800-427-5325). For your safety, we promptly investigate suspected natural gas leaks 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Is NJNG permitted to install and operate a pipeline near buildings intended for human occupancy?
New Jersey law, specifically N.J.S.A.14:7-1.4, states as follows: “No person shall install and/or operate a natural gas pipeline with a maximum operating pressure in excess of 250 psig within 100 feet of any building intended for human occupancy, which is in existence prior to, or under construction at the date of, execution of the right-of-way agreement, or at the date of filing with the Clerk of the Superior Court of a complaint in a condemnation action, unless such person has obtained prior Board approval of the installation and/or operation of the pipeline.”
Therefore, it is permissible provided it is approved by the Board of Public Utilities.
Is it safe to locate the SRL near my home?
Yes. Projects like the SRL are located near schools, churches, hospitals and residential areas throughout virtually every community in the United States. We have programs in place to monitor and maintain the integrity of our system to ensure the safety of the public.
How will this project impact NJNG’s customer rates and bills?
- We have agreed to enter into a base rate case with the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU), beginning in late 2015. Our recent infrastructure improvements, including the SRL, will be included as a part of this process.
Who is responsible for approving this project?
- NJNG will be required to comply with the regulations of the BPU and other appropriate federal, state, county and local authorities. The BPU, as lead state agency for public utilities, will make a determination on a request by NJNG for approval to construct and operate the SRL.
Will SRL require the use of eminent domain?
- No. The construction of the SRL will not involve the use of eminent domain. We plan to use existing roadways and rights-of-way to the maximum extent possible. If we propose to cross onto your land, our agents will approach and work with you to resolve any concerns you may have, obtain your permission, prepare an easement and provide reasonable compensation.
Why did NJNG file petitions with the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities?
For a project the size and scope of the SRL, state regulation requires the approval of the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) to install and operate the pipeline. Additionally, NJNG asked the BPU to find that the SRL is in the public interest. Copies which can be found at:
In the Matter of the Petition of New Jersey Natural Gas Company for Approval and Authorization to Construct and Operate the Southern Reliability Link Pursuant to N.J.A.C. 14:7-1.4
BPU Docket No. GE15040402
(June 5, 2015)
In the Matter of the Petition of New Jersey Natural Gas Company for a Determination Concerning the Southern Reliability Link Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:55D-19 and N.J.S.A. 48:9-25.4
BPU Docket No. GO15040403
(June 5, 2015)