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Element can help you succeed when installing wind turbines, pipelines or any infrastructure across agricultural land. Our Element water management consultants will assist with everything from planning routes to minimizing impact on existing drainage tile, to recommending improvements and repairs and helping farmers rest easy when signing land easements. We’ll also help you thoroughly examine the cost-benefit relationship before you make major investments in infrastructure that impact field-drainage systems.

At Element, our unique H2Onomy approach helps us deliver design and engineered plans that truly minimize the impact of construction on rural property. An Element plan can be a valuable tool to reduce construction risk and repair costs due to unmanaged tile water, and help in the workings to secure easements on agricultural lands.

Before planning your next large-scale project, consult with Element water management consultant.

Learn More about Element Services for Renewable Energy & Pipelines

Energy Company Seeks Collaborative Counsel for a Massive Undertaking

Kyle Stefka – WBI Energy Transmission, Staff Engineer of Pipeline Department 

Lay of the Land

As an engineer in the pipeline department for WBI Energy, Kyle Stefka seeks to find the most efficient and effective way to provide energy to their customers. Working on a natural gas pipeline project can certainly have its obstacles and with the upcoming WBI Energy Valley Expansion Project, the expertise and assistance of a drainage tile company to help streamline the process was critical.

WBI Energy’s proposed Valley Expansion Project is a Pipeline Right-of-Way measuring approximately 38-miles, to deliver natural gas from eastern North Dakota and western Minnesota via a new 16 inch steel pipeline. The pipeline would connect the Viking Gas Transmission Company pipeline near Felton, Minnesota, to WBI Energy’s existing pipeline near Mapleton, North Dakota.

The project, which is designed to transport 40 million cubic feet of natural gas per day, is under the jurisdiction of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, like the existing WBI Energy pipeline system. The company will work with FERC on permitting and regulatory requirements, which has included public information meetings. Subject to approval by FERC, the Valley Expansion Project is expected to be complete and placed in service in 2018.

The Challenges

When assessing the project and large land scope, it was discovered that the majority of this terrain is in agricultural use and has existing drainage tile in various regions along the 38-mile proposed pipeline. As WBI reviewed their plans they took notice that Ellingson was the name on numerous farmer’s pumps in the area. WBI contacted Ellingson to discuss this potential segment of the project, and how they could help with the evaluation of tile placement or additional placement needed along the pipeline. Kyle and the company’s main objective was to generate the least amount of impact to the current landowners and keep farming operations for them at their strongest potential.

With our division being based in Montana, we haven’t dealt with drainage tile with many past projects.”
–Kyle Stefka, WBI Energy Transmission

Why Ellingson?

During the initial start of the Valley Expansion Project, WBI understood the terrain had existing drain tiles and pumps. Kyle remembers finding that Ellingson’s name was mentioned many times over and that Ellingson was regarded highly in association with drain tile and had a solid reputation in their capabilities construction/placement of drainage tile for the agriculture and oil and natural gas pipeline industries.

This is a huge undertaking for WBI, resulting in bringing more natural gas to growing eastern North Dakota and western Minnesota. Kyle and the WBI team were excited to have Ellingson as their partners, and are eager to begin this important work.

“As the Valley Expansion Project evolved and we researched the area, Ellingson expertise and sizable engineering staff and resources were the ideal fit to accomplish this pipeline drainage project.”

The Project

Beginning in the summer of 2016, the Ellingson and WBI teams and engineers were able to meet and discuss the outline and expectations of the pipeline project. With the expertise of Ellingson’s sizable engineering staff, WBI’s team was able to jointly evaluate the fields that would cross the pipeline, taking into account existing tile that may need to be removed and relocated along the route. Engineering plans and shape files were provided with before and after pipeline placement, allowing WBI to see the landowners impact and drain tile placement plan; all equating to recommendations on how WBI could compensate landowners affected by the pipeline path and illustrate the most effective plan for all parties.

The collaboration of Ellingson staff and engineers kept WBI well-informed and educated on drainage placement along the pipeline. The team was able to easily convey to landowners the potential plan and outlook for drainage needs on their property where the pipeline would be laid. WBI land agents and Ellingson team members worked together to communicate and explain the cohesive plan to property owners.

The Ellingson team openly listened to Kyle and his team’s needs within the expansion – offering solid advice, concrete recommendations, along with realistic timelines and expectations. The extensive tile drainage undertaking demanded a manageable and efficient plan, but also required the time to meet with many of the landowners alongside WBI’s land agents.

“Throughout this project Ellingson has brought forth a great combination of professionalism and a down-to-earth approach with land and property owners/managers. This paired with their extensive knowledge and expertise in engineering and drainage tile alignment have made them an ideal company to work side-by-side with on the Valley Expansion Project.”

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