The Flower Mound Oil & Gas Advisory Board got to hear just how well our “quiet barns” knock down the noise on natural gas compressors during last Saturday’s (8/28) visit.
For me, it was an opportunity to share some of what Williams does, including sound mitigation, with other members of Flower Mound’s Oil & Gas Advisory Board on our tour of energy facilities in the area.
Since we’re tasked with taking a comprehensive look at the town’s oil and gas ordinances, seeing locations first-hand makes a lot of sense.
We met at Town Hall for the field trip. The first stop was at my place, so to speak – Williams’ location near 1171 and Scenic.
There are two pipeline compressors at this location, a gas-lift compressor, 12 water collection tanks, 11 natural gas wellheads and three dehydration units that separate moisture from natural gas. We call it our Sam Wilson site, which is a nod to the previous landowner.
Two of my Williams’ cohorts – Tim Colwell and Lucas Smith – helped me host our guests. Tim is part of our public information staff. Lucas is one of our environmental, health and safety specialists.
The natural gas from these operations goes into the neighboring ATMOS pipeline that provides fuel for Flower Mound and surrounding communities to heat water, dry clothes, cook food and make electricity.
One of the things I really wanted to show off was our compressors – which you normally can’t even see because they are disguised in “barns” so that they blend into the existing landscape.
They’re not barns, though. They just look like it. They’re actually highly engineered sound-control structures that have been designed for this very purpose.
Call it the engineer in me, but I still enjoy seeing the mechanics of how things work. And the cost of these structures reflects the high value Williams places on addressing noise and aesthetics.
Lucas set up sound meters inside and outside the “barns” so the advisory board could clearly see and hear how the barns are substantially more advanced than simply closing the door on the laundry room to drown out a noisy washing machine.
The Town’s Oil and Gas Inspector, Brandon Bammel, also brought his own sound meter. All of the meter readings – ours and his – matched exactly.
As you’ve probably heard from us before, the sound outside the barn is similar to that of a residential air conditioner. It’s true. The sound meters proved it.
Lucas also spent some time with the Board talking about our programs for leak prevention, leak detection, air monitoring and of course, the sound monitoring.
Beyond Williams, our board visited three other sites to gather as much information as we possibly could over the course of a couple hours. I’d like to thank my colleagues on the board for the time they invested in this.
For many on the tour, it was their first time to set foot on an oil and gas site. For me, I’ve been to oil and gas facilities countless times during my career and I enjoying sharing that knowledge.
I know Williams has historically done similar outings for the chamber, the media and some local non-profits, and now I’m grateful to get to roll out the red carpet for my neighbors, too.
Deborah Hempel-Medina is a Flower Mound resident and handles Community and Safety Outreach at Williams.