CARROLLTON, Ohio — Besides the legal ramifications of signing a pipeline easement agreement, Carroll County Soil and Water Conservation District technician Ray Rummel said there are some environmental concerns to remember as well.
Rummel said he wants to remind landowners that an easement goes on the deed and is forever.
“You only get one chance at it,” said Rummel.
He said all landowners need to include and clarify several things when talking to a company about a pipeline easement.
Landowners need to talk about the ingress and egress (entering and exiting) when it comes to easements. Talk to the company about how they will get to the pipeline and how they will get out.
Discuss how the temporary route they use to build the pipeline should be left when it is complete.
“Talk to them about the trees that will be removed,” said Rummel.
He said also clearly state in the agreement where waste will be disposed and when it will be cleaned up.
Rummel said one of the top environmental concerns is with the topsoil. Be sure to protect it in the agreement and discuss exactly how it will be replaced. Also discuss the depth of cover over the pipe and what the minimum depth of the pipe buried will be.
Be sure to require that the water be pumped out before it is backfilled.
“It’s needed to ensure culverts don’t get plugged up, and prevents erosion,” said Rummel.
He also recommends landowners require soil shatter so that the soil is decompacted and vegetation can grow on it, and include the requirement of a 4-inch crown on the pipelines.
“Without a crown, water will set there,” said Rummel. “It has to be crowned to allow for settlement. That way it will come back to the precondition as much as possible.”
Another thing Rummel said to negotiate is rock removal from the site. Discuss how they are supposed to be disposed of and who should get them.
One concern many farmers have is with tiles in their fields. Rummel strongly suggests discussing it with the pipeline company and ensure there is a plan in place for tiles to be repaired.
Look at the property and the conservation practices in place. Be sure the agreement calls for waterways or diversion ditches to be repaired to the way it was originally.
Rummel added that if the pipeline easement is in a crop field or a pasture field, make sure there is a minimum seed application requirement in the agreement, along with fertilizer and lime. Also include the ability to chose what seed is replanted.
He also suggests having an attorney look at the proposed agreement in order to protect yourself.