HAZLET –New Jersey Natural Gas is seeking permission from the state Dept. of Environmental Protection to construct a natural gas regulator facility off South Laurel Avenue.
The station, to control pressure along existing natural gas lines, would be located within an approximate .3 acre easement area within a 5-acre privately owned lot, identified as Block 120, Lot 29 at 469 South Laurel Avenue.
DEP permission is required since the location is in the New Jersey Coastal Zone, and may require a permit under the Coastal Area Facility Review Act (CAFRA). Nearby areas include the Raritan/Sandy Hook Bay tributaries watershed, the Waackaack Creek subwatershed, Thornes Creek tributary and Natco Lake.
Najarian Associates of Eatontown notified Hazlet in a letter July 2 it submitted paperwork for the CAFRA permit on behalf of NJNG.
According to the firm, the project conforms to all requirements for the CAFRA permit, and the only impact in special areas is temporary disturbance of wetland transition areas.
The mostly cleared yard is partially used for storage, according to application. It is privately owned by Arthur Smith of Middletown.
The location is directly behind a house currently for sale at 479 South Laurel, across from the intersection with Hopkins Terrace. The Helfrich bus lot is next door.
The proposed facility will be within a graveled, fenced area. Within the gravel, concrete footing will be placed under some of the equipment. The project proposes tree planting around the facility and within the wetland buffer.
“The project is needed to provide safe and reliable gas service at appropriate pressure throughout Hazlet and the surrounding area,” wrote John Kong, NJNG senior engineer.
Pressure reduction is achieved via regulators with a heater to control pressure when transferring natural gas from transmission lines to distribution lines that serve residential and commercial customers.
NJNG is upgrading the transmission line within Laurel Avenue from a 10 inch to 16 inch line with higher operating pressure. The upgrade increases gas pressure in the transmission line.
According to the engineering report accompanying the application: “The existing underground regulator facility on state-owned property at the intersection of Route 36 and Laurel Avenue is no longer sufficient to reduce the higher operating pressure on the 16 inch transmission line to the maximum operating pressure on the distribution lines that carry the gas to individual homes and businesses in Hazlet and surrounding communities,”
According to the Natural Heritage Database letter included in the application, there is a bald eagle’s nest within the immediate vicinity of the site. Bald eagles are on the state’s endangered list.
Anyone can review the application at Town Hall Clerk’s Office. NJDEP said it will hold either a 30-day public comment period or a public hearing on the application in the future. The application will have to be approved by the Hazlet Township Land Use Board.
NJNG serves more than 538,000 retail customers in Monmouth, Ocean, Morris, Middlesex and Burlington counties.