Pipeline project resumes after Radnor Lake spill - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

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Pipeline project resumes after Radnor Lake spill

NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV-AP) -

Piedmont Natural Gas crews have resumed construction on the controversial pipeline project at Radnor Lake State Park after a messy problem last week, and the utility company is promising major changes.

Workers halted construction on the 14-mile pipeline across south Nashville last week after 300 gallons of a clay and water leaked, spilling into Otter Creek.

Piedmont has been asked to stabilize and re-vegetate the trampled areas where the drilling is taking place.

The company is installing a new 20-inch pipeline that cuts through the park and more than 200 properties.

Park staff will be on hand if any other leaks happen.

Specialists with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation said last week the substance that leaked was bentonite - a fine, non-toxic, clay powder. They do not anticipate any long-term damage to the environment.

"I'm confident in our TDEC staff to do what's best for the environment," said Roger McCoy, with TDEC. "Naturally, with any project there's always concern or risk, whether it's a road, a pipeline or a footpath."

An incident report from Piedmont stated the hydraulic pressure of boring was too great for soft soil conditions to withstand.

About 50 Piedmont workers removed the material using just their hands and buckets so as not to make the problem worse.

Concerning environmental impact, TDEC said on a scale of 1 to 10, this is a 1.5 or 2.

"We had a plan in place if it did occur, and we implemented the plan and it worked. Even though we're not excited about what happened, we are excited about how the plan was implemented and how after three days we're at a pretty clean state," said Piedmont spokesman David Trusty.

Still, members of the group Friends of Radnor Lake are not happy.

"Without having any expletives on camera, my reaction was this is like a bad dream come true," said Greer Tidwell, president of Friends of Radnor Lake.

They vehemently opposed the project in the first place.

"It's an unwelcome intrusion, and part of why we didn't want it here is a concern of this exact kind of risk," Tidwell said.

Piedmont plans to build a release pit, and they say they will start inspecting the water daily.

The pipeline is set to be finished by December.

Copyright 2013 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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