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District sets ambitious schedule for gas pipeline

August 04, 2010
BERLIN — Routing landfill gas to the Cascade mill before next spring will be a challenge, according to the firm slated to do the work, but an achievable one.

"It's not going to be easy," said Thomas Quine, president of Northstar Industries of Methuen, Mass. "This is an extremely aggressive schedule."

Northstar Industries has been in discussions with the Androscoggin Valley Regional Refuse Disposal District and MerchantBanc, the company looking to buy the Cascade mill, about constructing the pipeline to supply natural gas and methane to the mill.

According to Mr. Quine the project will proceed in two phases. Phase one will splice into the nearby natural gas line and connect it to the mill, he said, to allow the mill to convert to natural gas as soon as possible. Phase one will involve installing a station on the gas line, he said, and running 3,000 feet of pipe to the mill. "We can do that in six months."

The second phase will run a line from the AVRRDD landfill to the station on the gas line, he said, where methane from the landfill with mix with the natural gas on its way to the mill. Phase two will require installing a station at the landfill and 11,000 feet of pipe.

Phase one is projected to be done by the end of February; phase two will be finished three months later.

"We have done these in this time-frame," he said. "It's not going to be easy."

His firm is prepared to work through the winter, he said, and the company fully understands what that entails. They worked through the winter when they built the natural gas line, he said.

The company builds most of its components off site and then brings them in for installation, he said, which makes it easier to work through the cold. Some parts will require foundations, he said, but mostly they just get plopped down.

The line will supply the mill with 200,000 cubic feet of natural gas per hour, he said, and 20,000 cubic feet of methane will come from the landfill every hour. Based on current fuel prices he estimated the district could make as much as $100 per hour from the line, although he cautioned that was just an educated guess.

Regardless, he said, the project should be a boon in the long run.

"I think this is a good thing for the district," he said, "a good investment."

Martin Lord Osman
Varney Smith
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