Duke Energy Propane Cavern Project Update
The following are questions from the East End Community and answers regarding the Duke Energy Propane Cavern Project. If you have questions and/or safety concerns please contact Duke at: firstname.lastname@example.org OR Call 513-287-2130
1. Where are these caverns presently located on your site? The cavern was mined within bedrock approximately 400’ below ground surface at the East Gas Works property.
2. How much propane is going to be flared? All propane that could be injected into the natural gas system has been injected and utilized. The remaining residual propane will need to be flared in order to be removed from the cavern so that the cavern can be retired. Duke Energy estimates that it will take approximately six weeks to flare the remaining residual propane.
3. What would be the costs to truck or pipe it out? The propane cavern and facility are not designed to extract propane from the cavern once it has been placed into the cavern, and the facility does not have the infrastructure or complex equipment to do so. Moreover, flaring to remove the propane remaining in the cavern is the standard industry practice and is safer for employees and the public than attempting to retrofit the facility equipment and infrastructure to withdraw propane from the cavern.
4. What are the health protections you plan to put in place with the propane emissions? Propane will be combusted completely and efficiently via the enclosed flare and will meet all emission requirements set forth in the Ohio EPA air permit obtained for this project. Daily logs will be kept of the flaring operations as required by the Ohio EPA air permit.
5. How will the flare off be monitored? The enclosed flare will be continuously monitored through an automated system, which will oversee the flame conditions. In addition, there will be staffed local operator presence at the flare at all times of flare operation.
6. Will air quality be checked at the site? How often? The flaring is being performed in accordance with an Ohio EPA air permit. Monitoring will be conducted to ensure that there is no release of propane in the piping systems up to the point of flaring. The flares will be monitored continuously via automated instrumentation and controls to ensure safety and combustion efficiency.
7. If the air quality becomes a problem, how do you plan to notify the community? Safety is Duke Energy’s priority. Duke Energy has been in contact with the local emergency responders and, if any emergent conditions occur, Duke Energy will notify local emergency responders in parallel with immediate action to correct any issues impacting the safety of operations at the site.
8. What possibility is there of an explosion during the flare off procedure and the future regulator operation? Duke Energy is utilizing an enclosed flare that includes safety features designed to minimize the potential for flashback. Duke Energy and our contract partners follow rigorous safety protocols to ensure system integrity is maintained at all times. Procedures, checklists and oversight of activities are proven processes that will be utilized to ensure safety.
9. In a worst-case scenario, is there an evacuation plan in place? When will you share that with the community? The East Gas Works plant has been operated safely for over sixty years. Duke Energy has coordinated and engaged in a risk reduction process with the Cincinnati Fire Department. An evacuation plan would not be considered necessary for these projects given the continuous monitoring of process systems and automatic shutdown of same. The project will be staffed continuously by operators who will also monitor the process.
10. Today (6/20) is already a noisy day at Duke. What can we expect for the rest of this flare burn off? Flaring has not yet begun, but noise levels are expected to be at similar levels, which are below the City of Cincinnati noise ordinance.
11. What noise might we expect from the regulator? The new regulator station is not expected to be noisier than the current existing regulator station.
12. What are the plans for the demolition of all the current buildings and what are the future plans for maintaining the property in an attractive way to protect neighborhood values and possible use? Demolition of the above grade structures at the site is planned to commence 1st quarter of 2024. Duke Energy plans to maintain the site property as it has previously and will continue to maintain vegetation along with perimeter fence. There are no plans at this time for future site development after demolition of existing structures and installation of the new regulator station.
13. Why could Duke not start the burning off process in the late Fall when neighbors will be more likely to not have our homes open to the outside? For safety purposes, the project team is maximizing the operations during daylight hours as this work will all be completed outdoors.
14. What are the greenhouse gas emissions of just flaring this off rather than using it for a productive use like heating/cooking etc.? As noted above, all propane that could be injected into the natural gas system for productive use has been utilized and the facility does not have the infrastructure to remove propane from the cavern for other uses. The propane that will be removed will be completely and efficiently combusted via an enclosed flare.
15. If they are going to go forward with flaring, will there be a community impact - what are they going to do to mitigate that impact? The project to retire the East Works Gas Plant cavern has been planned to minimize potential impacts to the local community. Fully-enclosed flares will be used to minimize any noise and to eliminate visible flare. Duke Energy has procured the highest specification flaring equipment to ensure the safety of the flaring operation and to minimize the duration of the operation. Duke Energy will only utilize pumps to fill the cavern with water from 7am to 9pm to minimize noise, and the pumping equipment has been located as far away from housing as possible.
16. What facilities are under the RR tracks? Are these permanently abandoned? What was done to decommission those? These facilities consist of pipelines that historically transferred propane from rail to the cavern, and they were permanently abandoned in place many years ago.
17. How many times has the area been evacuated from natural gas leaks in the past 30 years? A natural gas line was struck in 2011 by a contractor at the East Works Gas Plant. To protect the residents located near the gas line Duke Energy and the Cincinnati Fire Department evacuated a handful of residents for a few hours. This is typical during an incident of this nature. There has never been an evacuation related to the cavern or propane facility.
18. When does Duke plan to return the RMX zoned (non-Industrial) section of the property to conformance? Will you sell for housing? Do you intend to turn it into a public use? You certainly cannot continue to use, contrary to zoning, as a staging yard for Construction Worksites that have nothing to do with the East End. The temporary fencing has exceeded "temporary" by anyone's standards. I noticed today June 20th these fences are being dismantled. Is there a commitment for not bringing them back? Duke Energy does not have any plans at the current time to utilize our west parcel for future staging. As of now there are no plans for fencing on this portion of our parcel.
19. The new construction plan, does this realign your traffic with St. Andrews at the traffic light? No. Duke Energy does not expect the flaring operations to significantly increase traffic at the site.