Waterville Firefighters Gear Up With $15,000 Nexus Donation

Nexus Gas Transmission representatives presented a $15,000 grant to the Waterville Fire Department on April 24. The funds will be used to purchase turnout gear for firefighters. MIRROR PHOTO BY KAREN GERHARDINGER

BY KAREN GERHARDINGER | MIRROR REPORTER — A $15,000 donation by Nexus Gas Transmission will enable Waterville firefighters to be more prepared in the line of duty.

On April 24, Nexus representatives Adam Parker and Kristen Henson presented the check to Mayor Lori Brodie, administrator Jon Gochenour, interim Fire Chief Doug Meyer and several Waterville firefighters.

“With this, we can purchase six or seven full sets of turnout gear,” Meyer said of the pants, coats, boots and helmets that each firefighter must wear to stay protected on the job. 

The National Fire Protection Association standards call for gear to be replaced every 10 years, Meyer said. 

Nexus partners with communities located along its pipeline route to support programs in education, workforce development, community vitality and environmental stewardship, Parker said. To date, Nexus has contributed nearly $1 million in grants along the route in Ohio and Michigan.

“Our donation to the Waterville Fire Department is rooted in our commitment to being a good neighbor and helping to build a strong and safe community where we work and operate,” Parker said.

While the gas line only crosses Waterville in a small section between Browning Masonic Community, under River Road and across the river, the fire department is responsible for any incidents that might occur along the line and compressor station in Waterville Township.

While the pipeline was completed in October, landscaping work will continue when the ground is less saturated, Parker said. 

On Moosman Drive, telecommunications equipment, a mainline valve, launcher and receiver were installed. This allows for a “pig” – a device that is sent inside the pipeline to check for weaknesses or issues – to be sent and received from further down the 257-mile line.

The compressor station, the last of four along the line between eastern Ohio and Michigan, will likely be under construction by the end of the year. It will consist of compressor turbines, housed in a building about the size of a basketball court, Parker said. The compressor is only needed as the volume increases to the point where the gas needs to be compressed to send it on to Michigan. For now, the line has sufficient compression.

“Nexus strategically designed the route based on current and forecasted demand for natural gas in the Great Lakes region. The Waterville compressor station would support increased demand as future market need develops,” Parker said. “We continue to see a growing demand for natural gas from power generators and industrial end users in the region and these facilities would help meet that demand.”

He said Nexus recently announced plans to acquire Generation Pipeline, a 23-mile natural gas line serving power generation and industrial loads in the Toledo area. This will provide more opportunities for Nexus to provide gas in the Toledo industrial corridor, Parker said.

Nexus employs local residents to monitor and inspect the lines. Planes also fly over to look for encroachment on the lines, such as building on the gas easement. Those who live or work along the pipeline, as well as excavators, public officials and first responders, will be sent safety information. Training is also provided to first responders. 

Anyone with questions or concerns should call the Nexus 24-hour hotline at (844) 589-3655. 

When Nexus first announced plans in 2014 to bring a pipeline through the region, many citizen groups crowded local meetings in Waterville and Waterville Township, as well as an Ohio EPA meeting held at the school.

“The process was not easy,” Brodie said. As a result, Waterville residents passed a Community Bill of Rights that places restrictions on pipelines within the city. While Waterville City Council agreed in 2017 to not issue a permit to construct the pipeline in the city, Nexus filed a suit with the Northern Ohio U.S. District Court. In January 2018, council approved a $20,000 settlement with Nexus – seed money for an estimated $150,000 air monitoring system. The city is still working on finding other funds to help pay for that system, Brodie said.

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