Bluewater facility


Town of Ray compressor project

bluewater interconnection vector pipelines

Bluewater Gas Storage has proposed a compressor project designed to increase operating pressure for its system.

Bluewater’s current interconnection with Vector Pipeline does not allow direct delivery of the required amount of customers’ natural gas needs due to the varying pressures between the Bluewater and Vector systems. This has required rerouting the natural gas to other third-party pipelines for delivery, which results in additional costs.

bluewater compression station

Bluewater compression station. Artist rendition – not exact.

A new compressor would increase Bluewater’s operating pressure, taking full advantage of the Vector Pipeline interconnection and eliminating excess costs for rerouting the contracted amount of natural gas.

Pending Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and state review and approval, construction is expected to start in mid-2020 with completion in 2021.

Notice of application for compressor station –To access compressor station FERC filings, go to and enter the docket number, excluding the last three docket number digits.

Questions and answers

Why was the proposed location selected?

Five reasons:
  • Proximity to existing pipeline infrastructure
  • Minimal environmental impact
  • Least amount of impacted residences
  • Ability to incorporate visual buffers
  • Land for sale that met facility needs

Did you examine other locations?

Yes. Given the current operational constraints on Bluewater's system, moving the project to an alternative location away from our existing facilities or closer to the Vector interconnect would require a significant increase in either greenfield pipeline construction or the size of the proposed compressor station. Such changes would increase the project's environmental footprint in terms of wetland impacts, noise, air emissions and/or vegetation removal. Some alternatives would also require pipeline easements on additional landowners' property.

Is this facility needed, when there is another compressor station 3 miles away?

Yes. The compressor station to the south is not large enough to deliver the required volume of gas needed.

Is this a gas storage facility?

No. This is a compressor to increase Bluewater’s operating pressure into the Vector Pipeline.

When will the compressor operate?

We provide seasonal natural gas storage at the Kimball and Columbus locations. When natural gas is needed by customers, it is withdrawn from storage and sent to customers on the region's natural gas transmission system. In order to provide reliability during the peak winter natural gas season, we proposed to construct a natural gas compressor station on Omo Road to maintain the pressure and flow of natural gas through the pipeline system. The facility is expected to run on peak demand days during the winter (December through March) when the natural gas transmission is needed.

Can we get natural gas to our homes from this system?

No. This is a natural gas transmission pipeline – not a distribution pipeline for residential service.

What type of lighting will be used at the site?

Lighting will be directional LED – not traditional yard lighting. Lighting will be minimized when the facility is unoccupied. Use of full cutoff light fixtures will minimize off-site glare.

Will this facility be safe?

Safety is one of our core values as it is for all WEC Energy Group subsidiaries. As such, we already have taken steps to help ensure project safety. Our Certificate Application details how the project's design complies with - and in some cases exceeds - the applicable regulatory and pipeline safety requirements. We plan to:
  • Install additional and larger purge valves for better venting.
  • Install extra equipment in the compressor building that can initiate automatic safety systems.
  • Incorporate materials specifically designed to protect against long-term pipeline corrosion.
  • Provide around-the-clock monitoring, 365 days a year from our headquarters in Columbus. Operators monitor the system for abnormalities and can disable the system within seconds.

What is the expected sound level at the site?

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has determined that an average day-night sound level of 55 A-weighted decibels (dBA) protects the public from indoor and outdoor activity noise interference. New or modified compressor equipment will not exceed this level at any existing residences.

How will the property be landscaped?

A comprehensive landscape plan includes 15-foot-high berms on the north and east sides of the proposed compressor station. Current and additional vegetation, including coniferous trees on the berms, will reduce the visual impact to the surrounding community and serve as additional noise buffer.

What is the construction timeline?

If approved, construction would begin in summer 2020 and be complete by October 2021.

How can I register to be become a supplier or subcontractor for this project?

To be considered, potential suppliers are required to register in the Burns & McDonnell supplier database.

When asked for a Burns & McDonnell contact name, enter the following information:
Burns & McDonnell Contact Name: Bluewater - Omo Road Compressor Station
Email contact:

Will the road be treated for dust and graded frequently before paving is completed?

In accordance with FERC guidelines, we will have a dust prevention plan for the road and construction site.

Will electricity service be interrupted?

Any necessary power outages would be at the discretion of and coordinated by the local electric utility.

Will the facility be monitored in case of emergency?

The Town of Ray compressor facility will be remotely monitored 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Additionally, redundant on-site safety measures are in place, including human-operated shut-off buttons at multiple locations around the facility and automated systems that detect infrared heat or flames and shut down gas supply to the facility within seconds. Local emergency response would be from the Ray Township and Macomb County authorities.

How often are compressor facilities audited and inspected by government agencies?

Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has jurisdiction for this facility and inspects pipelines and compressor stations at a three-to-five year cycle. PHMSA will perform a post-construction inspection within one year of the facility going into service.

What are the chances of this facility being expanded for future demands?

We have no plans to expand the facility. The proposed compressor will be able to handle the amount of natural gas being delivered from the Columbus III facility.

Are area fire and emergency departments trained and equipped to handle emergencies at a compressor facility?

Yes. Bluewater works closely with Macomb County emergency responders to provide training and drills.

Where can I get answers to other questions?

If you have questions about Bluewater Gas Storage’s safety and environmental stewardship or emergency response, contact Kelly Zagrzebski 715-848-7342.