Addressing Concerns

Our community engagement staff, based in every operating region, works with community members to develop effective solutions to potential concerns, including environmental issues, road and traffic impacts and noise.

Responding to Community Concerns

Road safety, road maintenance, traffic issues, noise and environmental stewardship are some of the most common concerns community members raise about our operations. On these issues and others, we work with residents to develop solutions that benefit both SWN and local communities.

Safe Driving Practices

Roadway safety is a top priority for SWN. Not only do we want to keep our employees and contractors safe, but our local reputation depends on our drivers being cautious and courteous.

We have developed training and monitoring programs to encourage employees and contractors to follow safe driving practices.

In West Virginia and Pennsylvania, where roads are often narrow, winding and/or steep, we have taken a number of additional measures to help ensure road safety, including:

  • Prohibiting employees and vendors from hauling large loads on local roads during school bus pickup and drop-off hours
  • Analyzing roads to identify sections that are unsuitable for two-way traffic when large trucks are on the road
  • Using escort vehicles and flaggers to reduce potential hazards in areas with limited sight lines, limited communication, steep drop-offs and/or narrow, winding roadways

Road Dust

We employ several methods to reduce the dust created by large trucks traveling on gravel or dirt roads. Some of these methods can minimize dust for several months, even during high-volume activity. In addition, we staff a 24-hour call center to address dust-related concerns and encourage all residents and SWN contractors to identify and report areas in need of dust control.

Traffic

Over the years, we have reduced the number of trucks on local roads through three key practices:

  • Multiple-Well Drilling Pads: We drill up to 10 wells on one pad, sliding the rig to a new location on the pad without using roads to relocate the rig.
  • Pipeline Systems for Water Transport: In Northeast Pennsylvania and Arkansas, we have installed underground and surface pipelines that transport nearly all of our water. We are installing water pipeline systems in West Virginia and Pennsylvania to carry both fresh water and recycled produced water to our operations. We are also using these pipelines to share water with other operators in the area, further reducing trucks on the road.
  • Centralized Logistics Operations Center: Our logistics center for Arkansas, West Virginia and Pennsylvania reduces SWN and contractor truck traffic and congestion (and associated vehicle emissions) by consolidating trips and optimizing routes. In addition, the logistics center reduces impact on roads by maximizing loads and avoiding roads and bridges that are not equipped to handle heavy-duty trucks.

650

truckloads of equipment and construction material eliminated with each new well drilled on a multiple-well drilling pad

350–700

truckloads per well eliminated with pipeline systems, reducing truck traffic by about half

1.1 million

miles of truck travel eliminated in 2017 alone
by our logistics center

Road Maintenance

In some areas, the roads require continued maintenance because they are not designed to accommodate the heavy-duty trucks and volume of traffic needed to support our operations. SWN and the natural gas industry pay millions of dollars in state taxes, impact fees and maintenance fees each year, which are often used to restore and maintain highways and secondary roads.

Compressor Noise

Compressors increase the pressure of natural gas, enabling it to be transported through pipelines and delivered to consumers. We operate both centralized compressor stations and smaller, temporary units on well pads. Noise from compressors is sometimes an issue of concern among local residents.

Our compressor facilities are designed to meet applicable noise limits – usually by a comfortable margin.

We use a range of methods to control the sound levels of stationary compressors used by our Midstream operations, as possible based on location and system requirements, including:

  • Siting compressor stations away from residences and other occupied areas and not placing compressors in certain terrains and cultural features such as parks, historic sites and wetlands
  • Operating nonstandard compressor exhaust systems with extra sound-reduction capabilities
  • Using high-efficiency coolers with fans that run at slower speeds to reduce noise
  • Installing larger piping than is typically used, to keep gas velocity low and reduce high-pitched sounds
  • Constructing buildings or sound walls around compressor equipment

How We Handle Feedback

We take concerns about our operations seriously and address every one. Being responsive is a cornerstone of our approach. To facilitate timely communication, we have a 24-hour feedback hotline and prominently display the phone number on our vehicles and on-site signs. When SWN is notified of a possible issue, we put the individual in touch with an employee who has the knowledge and authority to ensure the issue is addressed, and then we follow up to let the person know what we are doing in response. We respond to all calls within 24 hours, and most calls much sooner.

Our companywide routing and tracking system for community feedback documents the nature of each comment received, where it was received and how it was addressed. Data from this system is helping us to better understand and proactively address community concerns.