Social

Community Engagement

Our goals are to operate as a socially responsible company and positively contribute to the local communities in which we operate. At the same time, community engagement allows for building relationships and partnerships with those who may be affected by our work, and it is important to us that everyone living or working near one of our pipelines or facilities is confident in our commitment to operating in a safe and responsible manner. We also recognize that public apprehension about natural gas pipelines and their related facilities is an understandable sentiment both locally and nationally. Through our engagement efforts, we demonstrate Equitrans’ commitment to a sustainable future and illustrate the critical role that natural gas is playing, and we believe will continue to play, in the clean energy transition.

Equitrans volunteers at the Storybrook Trail ribbon cutting.

Strengthening Community Partnerships

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Community engagement is vital to our business success. We work to develop and maintain strong community relations through ongoing communication, active participation, and community investment. Our community engagement efforts are designed to inform communities about our operations in a way that builds understanding and trust, as we clearly understand that our pipeline operations can and do affect them. We strive to identify community needs, interests, and concerns related to our operations and work to address them in a proactive and responsive manner. We also invest in community projects and programs that will have a positive, lasting impact; and we consistently engage with community members to keep them informed of our current, planned, and proposed operations. In February 2021, we published our formal Stakeholder Engagement and Community Investment Policy, which captures our efforts to build collaboration and trust with our communities and other key stakeholders. At Equitrans, these engagements typically involve three primary approaches: addressing community concerns and public perceptions; investing in communities; and managing our corporate reputation.

Addressing Community Concerns and Public Perceptions

As part of Equitrans’ efforts to build a more sustainable future, we believe it is important to educate the public, all of whom are energy consumers, about the critical role that natural gas plays, and we believe will continue to play, in the transition to a lower-carbon economy. It is equally important to engage with the public on our many sustainability initiatives.

As the energy transition progresses, we must address public concerns and perceptions about natural gas. We understand that we must listen to and act on community concerns to build trust and long-lasting relationships. The public's apprehension about natural gas pipelines and their related facilities is an understandable sentiment locally and nationally. It is important to us, as a Company, that everyone living or working near one of our pipelines or facilities is confident in our commitment to operating safely and responsibly.

Our government affairs, communications/corporate affairs, land, and construction groups serve as the primary liaison for responding to inquiries from our community stakeholders. Equitrans’ engineering team is also available to assist our external outreach teams in addressing specific concerns related to the technical design of a pipeline or facility.

  • Our government affairs group builds and maintains relationships with policy stakeholders. Both our government affairs and communications/corporate affairs team frequently engage with civic organizations, elected officials, emergency response personnel, business owners, and residents to foster relationships at the local, state, and national levels. For example, the outreach team working on our Ohio Valley Connector Expansion project (OVCX) emphasized identifying and engaging with environmental justice communities near our facilities. Furthermore, to strengthen our community engagement activities and reduce potential community concerns, Equitrans is developing a formal Environmental Justice Policy, which we expect to publish in 2022.
  • In the field, our communications/corporate affairs, land, and construction groups serve as our primary points of contact for landowners and other community members. These group members regularly attend and participate in public municipal meetings in areas where we have ongoing and future projects to establish good working relationships with local communities and to reinforce clear lines of communication for project questions. The input from our local communities increases Equitrans’ ability to address specific public needs and mitigate operational risks before they become disputes or hazards.
  • As part of our land team, our owner relations group primarily addresses payment or tax-related concerns and also works with other members of the land group to address questions and concerns about our operations. Landowners can contact Equitrans representatives through our Owner Relations phone number (1-888-613-7848) or via email to notify us of any concerns and obtain answers to any questions they may have before, during, or after construction activities.

Additionally, in 2021, we began evaluating the development of a Companywide issues management and resolution tracking system. The objective of the project is to develop and implement a formal process that will identify and manage general concerns, requests, and specific issues — creating a single repository for historical reference, which can be accessed by various departments across the organization. By maintaining a single issues-management system, we will be better able to: deliver on our commitment to accurately resolve concerns/issues in a timely manner, ensure uniformity in our approach to resolving concerns/issues, and help to minimize issues before they become larger concerns or disputes. We expect to identify a technology solution for the new issues management tracking system by year-end 2022, with implementation targeted for 2023.

Key Topics Raised by Local Stakeholders

Prior to construction, we engage with our local stakeholders to learn of potential issues and diligently work throughout our planning and construction phases to limit potential stakeholder concerns. Once we are granted access to work on a landowner’s property, we want to ensure we are operating in a respectful manner that is aligned with the landowner’s expectations.

The majority of key topics and concerns raised by our local stakeholders are temporary issues. Some common concerns include noise, roadway damage, and increased traffic, most of which occur during the construction phase. When a stakeholder voices a concern, we assign relevant project team members to address and provide solutions. Should the project team member be unable to alleviate a stakeholder’s concern, we escalate the topic to the appropriate management level.

We continuously evaluate the impacts of our operations on local communities and establish best practices to proactively mitigate issues and concerns to the greatest extent possible. As an example, prior to the installation of a compressor station, we evaluate the area around the station and perform sound studies to understand baseline noise levels, which assists in identifying potential noise-related issues that may arise. If these studies identify a noise issue, we proactively install sound mitigation measures, where appropriate, to minimize the impact on neighboring properties.

Our use of roads during pipeline construction is another noteworthy example of our efforts to be responsible community stewards. Construction activities often temporarily impact local roadway conditions, and it is important that we make every effort to minimize these impacts. When starting construction, Equitrans implements established procedures to identify the roads we will traverse in order to assess any maintenance that may be required either before work begins or after it is finished. We communicate this information to the local municipality, and we work with the municipality’s officials to ensure minimal disruption to community members during our use of the roadways. In 2021, Equitrans invested a total of more than $1,265,000 in roadway repairs and upgrades across its operating areas in Pennsylvania and Ohio.

Equitrans invested more than $1,265,000 in local roadway improvements during 2021.

Equitrans volunteer helping to transplant small plants in a public park.

In 2021, at a project level, we saw enhanced stakeholder outreach — additional mailings, community information sessions, individual phone and in-person communications, and open houses to ensure we are engaging with affected landowners, community members, and other stakeholders. Maintaining an open and transparent dialogue with our many local stakeholders demonstrates Equitrans’ steadfast commitment to social responsibility and ensures that we are upholding our Core Values and following our policies, practices, and procedures. We encourage community engagement in all aspects of our business and believe community feedback allows our organization to be more effective and efficient.

Investing in Communities

At Equitrans, we believe in investing in our communities, supporting local organizations and giving back to those who need it most. We are committed to being a good neighbor and creating lasting value for our employees, families, and other residents impacted by our operations. Through our Corporate Local Giving and Sponsorship Program, as well as the Equitrans Midstream Foundation, we support a wide range of organizations within these communities. By investing in our local communities, we create a positive impact that extends far beyond our Company, helping to strengthen their foundation for future generations.

There are a group of Equitrans volunteers at Montour Trail with gardening supplies for planting and park maintenance.

Corporate Local Giving and Sponsorships

To ensure legality and appropriateness, Equitrans recently implemented a formal structure and internal review process to evaluate and approve or decline each corporate donation or sponsorship request we receive. The primary objective is to ensure all contributions align with our Core Values and confirm that contributions are not made to local authorities having oversight of our current or future operations, which would raise questions of impropriety. Our internal audit team also audits the process, submission requests, and donations on a quarterly basis.

The review process is managed by Equitrans’ senior community advisor; and members of the review team consist of a cross-functional representation of employees from across the organization, including legal, human resources, government affairs, and communications/corporate affairs. As part of the review, team members ensure the requests are in line with Equitrans’ Corporate Sponsorships and Local Giving Guidelines, which is available for stakeholder reference on Equitrans’ website. The team also categorizes each approved request to align with select UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as applicable. The level of review is based on the dollar amount being requested, with multi-year sponsorship requests and larger regional or national initiatives requiring executive review.

Six Equitrans employees are surrounding an office table covered in Toys-for-Tots donations.

Our Corporate Local Giving and Sponsorship Program supports a variety of local organizations, non-profit groups, first responders, and municipalities seeking assistance for community projects. Other investments include the active sponsorship of county fairs, community festivals, and other local events. Both our donations and sponsorships present opportunities for us to interact with community members, inform them of our business operations, and most importantly enhance their quality of life.

Equitrans places an emphasis on supporting our first responders and local communities. At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, we continued to participate in several food drives, donate supplies to local schools, provide necessary medical supplies to county agencies, and provide support to local humane societies. As we broaden our sustainability investments, we are especially proud of our ongoing partnership with the Upper Mattaponi Indian Tribe. Our multi-year investment will support the sustainability efforts of the Tribe by providing for the acquisition of waterfront land within the historic extent of their territory, allowing the Tribe to establish an indigenous environmental education pavilion and a canoe livery that will support the Tribe’s goals of enhancing the financial stability and physical well-being of its members. The investment is also expected to create opportunities for younger generations to remain connected to the waterborne culture that has sustained the Tribe for many years.

In 2021, Equitrans also partnered with the Fairmont State University Foundation for the construction of their new Sustainability Shelter, which will be used as an outdoor learning space for students and as a venue for hosting local community and educational events. This donation fully supports many of our ESG initiatives and also aligns with two of the UN SDGs, Quality Education and Sustainable Cities and Communities. The Fairmont State Foundation honored Equitrans with its “2021 Philanthropic Corporation of the Year” award, which represents the demonstration of outstanding commitment through financial support and engagement of others in activities that support and advance philanthropy at Fairmont State University.

During 2021, Equitrans’ corporate contributions totaled $555,000 — supporting more than 65 community organizations.

During 2021, Equitrans made supporting contributions totaling roughly $555,000 (excluding project-related donations). Since our launch as an independent midstream company, our community involvement continues to increase and evolve, including several broader ESG-related initiatives and concerted alignment with select UN SDGs. This is demonstrated in our 2021 donation total, which was more than double that of our previous year’s donations. Corporate sponsorships and donations for the year included programs and organizations such as:

  • Fairmont State University Foundation
  • NDPonics
  • Upper Mattaponi Indian Tribe
  • LandForce PGH
  • Trout Unlimited
  • One Tree Planted
  • DigDeep’s Appalachia Water Project
  • Fill it Forward
  • Three Rivers Youth
  • WV Game Changers Education Program
  • Junior Achievement
  • Eastern Gas Compression Association
  • Belmont County Agricultural Society
  • Washington County Agricultural Association
  • Greene County Department of Recreation
  • Governor’s One Shot, Inc.
  • Charity Miles
  • Multiple county fairs
  • Multiple 4-H and livestock events
  • Multiple Volunteer Fire Departments
  • Multiple emergency response funds

Two Equitrans employees are presenting a corporate giving donation check of two thousand five hundred dollars.

In support of Equitrans’ Inclusion program, our corporate giving program also supported several diversity and inclusion related initiatives, such as:

  • The Wounded Warriors Project
  • PACE Enterprises
  • Dress for Success
  • Autism Speaks
  • WVU LGBTQ+ Center

Our goals are to operate as a socially responsible company and to contribute in a positive way to the local communities in which we operate. We support our employees in volunteer activities that enrich the lives of others, while at the same time enhancing their own experiences, and we encourage our employees to solicit and recommend community outreach programs in which volunteers can contribute and participate. Equitrans utilizes E-Train On-Track to support the engagement of our employees in corporate-sponsored community service initiatives and social employee activities that align with our Core Values of safety, integrity, collaboration, transparency, and excellence.

E-Train On-Track

Formed in 2019, our E-Train On-Track committee consists of employees representing each of Equitrans’ regional offices. Committee members meet monthly to evaluate opportunities for volunteering, community service, and employee social activities that are aligned with our Core Values and promote a deeper connection with the communities where we live and work. As pandemic restrictions were starting to be lifted throughout 2021, we are pleased to report that our volunteer events tripled, as compared to 2020. During 2021, the E-Train On-Track committee coordinated 24 events to promote local employee volunteerism and community service. Along with activities at multiple parks, gardens, trails, and recreation areas, a sampling of these events included:

    • UPMC Walk for Children’s
    • Backpack Beginnings
    • The Education Partnership
    • UPMC Children’s Hospital Firearm Safety Outreach
    • Habitat for Humanity
    • Stuff-A-Bus
    • Dress for Success
    • Adopt-a-Family
    • Toys-for-Tots
    • Autism Speaks

Employees also enjoyed participating in a Charity Miles fitness challenge; a Sportsperson’s Challenge, with an emphasis on hunting safety; and a special Redhook Compressor Station tour.

During 2021, Equitrans’ participation in volunteer events tripled and employees logged 1,005 hours of volunteer time.

Equitrans offers a “Volunteer Paid-Time Off” program that allows employees to use regular work hours to engage directly with their community. With supervisor approval, an employee can take up to two business days of paid volunteer time each year to work in the community with a non-profit charity or organization of their choice. In 2021, our employees logged a total of 1,005 volunteer hours through this program.

Equitrans volunteers distributing school supplies at Bobtown Elementary school.

Equitrans Midstream Foundation

The Equitrans Midstream Foundation is a legally separate 501(c)(3) entity established in 2018, at which time Equitrans Midstream Company became an independent, publicly traded company. Our Foundation partners with non-profit organizations to boost social and economic prosperity in local communities by investing in projects and programs through three focus areas: community development, education, and the environment.

Community Development

The Foundation’s community development investments focus on initiatives that enhance the fabric of communities by:

  • Enhancing community safety and wellbeing
  • Supporting the enrichment of arts and culture in the community
  • Fostering inclusion and promoting diversity in communities
  • Encouraging the development of livable communities that attract and retain residential, commercial, and industrial growth

Education

The Foundation’s spending on education initiatives looks to develop a sustainable energy workforce through projects that:

  • Advance science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM) education, with a focus on accessibility to underserved and underrepresented groups
  • Prepare students to compete in the workforce of the future, with tools to make positive social and economic contributions
  • Empower students to pursue trades and vocational training

Environment

The Foundation’s environmental investments support organizations that focus on preserving and protecting the environment by:

  • Providing environmental education on land, air, and water stewardship
  • Empowering individuals and organizations to utilize conservation methods to preserve our natural resources
  • Supporting projects that promote environmental stewardship

During 2021, the Foundation contributed an additional $382,000 in employee matching donations to 501(c)(3) organizations.

Our Foundation made $532,000 in donations during 2021. Additionally, the Foundation matches employee contributions dollar-for-dollar, from $100 to $50,000 annually, and made an additional $382,000 in employee matching donations to 501(c)(3) organizations. Overall, the Foundation increased its giving by 29% in 2021, compared to the previous year, and by 39% since 2019.

In 2021, the Foundation made grants to a number of non-profit organizations that serve underserved and underrepresented populations in our operating areas. Below are a few of the key programs our Foundation supported in 2021:

  • Mountaineer Food Bank Veterans Table
  • West Virginia University Foundation
  • Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation
  • Intermediate Unit One Education Foundation
  • Girl Scouts Western PA
  • The Education Partnership
  • Junior Achievement of Western PA
  • End Distracted Driving (EndDD.org)
  • Pittsburgh Symphony, Inc.
  • Focus on Renewal StoRox Neighborhood
  • Centers for Excellence in Education
  • Innovation Works Inc
  • Casey Feldman Foundation
  • Saltworks Theater Company
  • Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank
  • Beverly’s Birthdays
  • Dress for Success Pittsburgh
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters Greater Pittsburgh
  • Penn’s Woods West Trout Unlimited

Equitrans volunteers are participating in the torch run, raising funding and awareness for the Special Olympics.

Our Social License To Operate

Evaluating and understanding the perspectives of all involved parties allows us to identify key areas of focus and make informed decisions that reflect the best interests of both our Company and the community. We believe that by taking a proactive stance regarding stakeholder engagement and community investment, we are better able to enhance and/or build thriving communities, while also achieving our overarching business goals. In doing so, our Core Values of safety, integrity, collaboration, transparency, and excellence are the principles that guide our employees’ behaviors and decisions. A few examples of our employees working through our values include:

  • Gathering information to help identify local concerns before they inconvenience neighbors
  • Advocating for the community by affirming that issues or concerns are addressed at the appropriate level within Equitrans and are ultimately resolved
  • Acting as a channel of information for suggesting ways to strengthen Equitrans’ processes and procedures
  • Providing opportunities for residents to learn about current or future projects and how they may affect their communities
  • Building relationships prior to the start of activity in new areas

To meet and exceed community expectations, we thoughtfully evaluate our engagement approach to determine what is working well, what can be improved, and how to enhance our interactions with local communities. We continually consider how to best engage the public in understanding our operations and the measures we take to maintain public safety and mitigate environmental impacts during all phases of our operations. Our primary means of engagement is through direct communication and relationship building with all involved stakeholders (landowners, community members, elected officials, emergency responders, etc.). Through these personal engagements, we directly learn from stakeholders about positive outcomes and receive recommendations regarding how we can better address community matters.

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Culture Change Belongs to All of Us

Our goal is to create a workforce culture that is not only aligned with our values, but also inspires employees to be their best selves. Based on the findings of our initial culture assessment conducted in 2020, we implemented several culture enhancing initiatives that were aligned with our mission, vision, and strategy — including redesigning our employee recognition program, introducing 360-degree management assessments and coaching, and launching an on-demand learning platform.

In 2021, we conducted our second culture survey, which had a 78% participation rate and highlighted significant, double-digit percentile increases across all 48 culture survey questions. In conjunction with our Culture Champions Group, we attribute these culture score improvements to the many action items we implemented since conducting our previous assessment.

The survey platform we utilize measures organizations across four areas: Mission, Consistency, Involvement, and Adaptability. While we were encouraged by the results, we also recognize there are areas that require continued focus to improve our culture. Below are a few key highlights from our recent survey:

Leveraging Our Strengths

  • We are very strong in the areas of teamwork and agreement — illustrating strong coordination across departments, the elimination of silos, and alignment with our Core Values, which highlights a strong sense of right and wrong.
  • We had positive shifts in how we use our Core Values to guide our decisions & the perceptions of leaders who demonstrate these values.
  • We scored near the 95th percentile on most of the safety aspects, something we are very proud of as we continue to elevate our strong safety culture.

Taking Action

Based on the opportunities for improvement, we are implementing several action items that are linked to three primary focus areas:

  • Customer Focus: The best way to define Customer Focus is with a question — “When we get a request from a fellow employee, do we treat that request as if it came from a customer?” The success of our Company depends on all employees — from maintaining safe operations, ensuring system reliability, and designing system enhancements to closing our books, scheduling projects, running payroll, and managing our legal and regulatory concerns. As we strive to be a reliable partner inside and out, in 2022 we added customer service to our Core Value of Collaboration; and we are implementing initiatives to improve our internal customer service and ensure the timely exchange of information requests.
  • Strategic Direction & Intent: Employees understand the importance of connecting the dots between our strategy and their day-to-day work. Based on survey feedback, we will continue to publish our quarterly Strategic Priorities Update and schedule all-employee meetings to communicate progress on our Company’s annual priorities and objectives, which helps employees to align their individual objectives. Achieving our Company goals takes teamwork, collaboration, and individual contributions by everyone.
  • Capability Development: As people leaders, we want to take a more active role in the development of our employees, helping them to understand and explore opportunities for advancement. To support our managers, we rolled out training during 2022 to assist managers in having effective career conversations with employees, encouraging an open dialogue on opportunities for growth and skill development. We also updated our Core Value of Excellence to include employee capability development — reinforcing the importance of helping to improve the capabilities of our employees as a competitive advantage. 

At Equitrans, culture change belongs to all of us, and each employee plays a vital role in achieving our vision of becoming the premier midstream company in North America. Our employees’ continued commitment to E-Train’s success is demonstrated by staying the course — effectively managing our business and running our operations safely, efficiently, and responsibly.

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Protecting Our Critical Energy Infrastructure

With cyber-attacks on the rise in nearly every industry sector, including those related to oil/gas pipelines, there is a heightened need for teamwork and collaboration to protect our nation’s energy infrastructure. We recognize the important joint efforts of pipeline operators, government agencies, vendors, and industry groups in developing solutions to combat the complex challenges of an ever-changing cybersecurity landscape. The formation of this alliance is based on a common goal: keeping our critical infrastructure safe, secure, and reliable.

To ensure adequate resources and elevate the criticality of our industry’s cyber initiatives, Chief Executive Officers and Chief Information Officers from our nation’s major pipeline operators, as well as top leaders from various government agencies are aligned on this priority. In addition, with this level of attention and focus on cybersecurity, responsibility has gone beyond Information Technology personnel. To be truly effective, cybersecurity requires multi-disciplinary leadership involvement from other business functions, such as physical security, emergency management, facilities, legal, and supply chain.

As a natural gas pipeline operator, Equitrans Midstream transports roughly 10% of U.S. natural gas production every day, making it critical for us to know and understand the latest threat intelligence. With the knowledge gained through these industry and government relationships, we are better prepared to implement leading practices designed to counter evolving attack vectors.

At Equitrans Midstream, we believe forming a cybersecurity partnership has helped raise the security bar across the industry, resulting in a collective benefit that is beyond what any individual pipeline operator could achieve. By working together on cybersecurity initiatives, we are striving to make the natural gas pipeline sector more secure, while at the same time continuing to provide the critical energy resources on which our nation relies.

     – Carmine Fantini, CIO, Equitrans Midstream

The continued evolution of cybersecurity threats demands a holistic response from industry, government, and suppliers. Equitrans recognizes this reality, and we work diligently every day to enhance our strong public/private sector alliance — strengthening our capabilities to protect our critical energy infrastructure.

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Storage Integrity Management

To fulfill specific regulatory obligations by government agencies, Equitrans conducts annual audits and inspections required by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) and respective state agencies that oversee pipelines and related facilities. To reinforce the importance of public safety, in recent years PHMSA has conducted focused audits on Storage Integrity Management programs. These very intense, detailed audits emphasize both public safety and the environmental impacts of storage methane release. Among other benefits to the industry, this level of scrutiny provides an opportunity for natural gas pipeline operators to review, improve, and strengthen their programs.

Under PHMSA’s direction, Equitrans conducted numerous storage audits from 2018 through 2021 to gauge the strength of our Storage Integrity Management Plan (SIMP) and its adherence to published code. While there were no penalties assessed as a result of these audit activities, Equitrans did receive varying degrees of citations (i.e., Letters of Concern, Warning Letters, and Notices of Amendment) that required us to update our plans, policies, and procedures to enhance our SIMP.

In addition to addressing all cited deficiencies to improve the SIMP, Equitrans instituted the following enhancements to its storage operations:

  • Mitigation of risk by increasing the frequency of well-surveillance logging to every seven years, versus the previous schedule of every 15 years
  • Utilization of Remote Terminal Units on storage wells for 24-hour monitoring by gas control
  • Development and implementation of storage-specific procedures to standardize storage maintenance and operations activities across the Company
  • Dedicating personnel trained specifically for storage operations

As with all of Equitrans’ pipeline integrity programs, our primary focus is on safety — above all else — for our communities, employees, and pipeline facilities. The continued and enhanced safe operation of our storage assets is merely an extension of Equitrans’ overall commitment to safety.

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Philanthropy and Volunteerism

Equitrans Midstream supports the development of a sustainable workforce, which we believe is a key element for the long-term success of our Company and our communities. Preparing local students to compete in the workforce is a funding priority of the Equitrans Midstream Foundation — connecting students now with the tools they need to make positive social and economic contributions in the future. Through our E-Train On-Track committee, we also support employee volunteerism and encourage employees to donate their time in support of community-based educational initiatives. 

The Education Partnership is a local non-profit organization that distributes school and classroom supplies at no cost to students and teachers in need. When the organization approached us with an opportunity to provide assistance and support for Pennsylvania schools, ranging from pre-K through grade 12, we enthusiastically volunteered both our funding and time. In 2021, through a $32,000 grant to The Education Partnership’s Adopt-a-School program, the Equitrans Midstream Foundation purchased essential school supplies for students in three southwestern Pennsylvania schools. Using our Volunteer Paid-Time-Off Program, these funds were amplified by Equitrans employees who volunteered their time to assemble more than 1,230 Power Tools Homework Kits for distribution to the students. A team of employees then attended assemblies at one of the participating high schools to conduct mini-educational sessions to discuss jobs and careers in the energy industry.

During the past two years, the Foundation has awarded $50,000 to The Education Partnership. By combining proposed funding opportunities with employee volunteerism, Equitrans can provide a greater level of community support, while at the same time encouraging employee involvement and increasing overall engagement. Our work with The Education Partnership is one example of Equitrans’ commitment to the communities in which we live and work — delivering positive impacts through both financial support and employee volunteerism. 

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Emergency Response and Preparedness

In August 2021, flammable vapors from a tank vent ignited during a late afternoon electrical storm at the Equitrans Twilight Compressor Station, a natural gas gathering facility located in Washington County, Pennsylvania. Upon notification of the incident, the Equitrans crisis team quickly convened — no injuries were reported, and no significant damage occurred. 

As part of our response, Equitrans technicians were immediately dispatched and, once on site, began to implement necessary safety procedures, including the closing of appropriate valves to isolate the tank. In addition, the local volunteer fire department was on site to assist with appropriate fire safety protocols.

Equitrans’ emergency procedures and closing of valves successfully allowed the flame to self-extinguish, and within a short time the tank was fully isolated. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection was notified, and, as a courtesy, local township officials and the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission received notification of the incident.

Working together with the crisis team, our operations, safety, and compliance teams determined that the ignition occurred as a result of a lightning strike that ignited vapors from a malfunctioning tank vent. After reviewing and understanding the cause of the incident, operations worked with engineering to identify and inspect similar tank vents, as well as tank grounding, to minimize the risk of similar incidents from occurring in the future.

For more information on Equitrans Emergency Response and Preparedness, please visit: Public Safety and Emergency Response.

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Distracted Driving Awareness

Distracted driving is an important safety issue — whether we are traveling for work or transporting friends and family during our personal time. The tragic results of distracted driving can happen to any one of us, anywhere, and at any time. Furthermore, these distractions come in many forms and can be caused by a number of factors, such as driving while using a communications device, tending to others who are in the vehicle, using your vehicle’s audio system, or simply observing scenery as we pass it on the road. 

 In response to an increase in preventable vehicle accidents in 2020, Equitrans’ safety team created a Safe Driving Stand-Up, whereby supervisors were tasked with encouraging their teams to focus on changing their driving behaviors to better ensure everyone’s safety. In 2021, we placed additional emphasis on vehicle driving safety through our Companywide Distracted Driving Awareness initiative, which included encouraging employees to sign a distracted driving pledge as a symbol of their commitment to drive safely, be in the moment, and remain focused on the task-at-hand.

With more than 500 employees in attendance, Equitrans’ Distracted Driving Awareness campaign kicked off with a presentation by Joel Feldman, renowned distracted driver speaker. Mr. Feldman is an attorney from Philadelphia who, despite representing those impacted by distracted driving crashes, frequently drove distracted himself. Following the death of his daughter in an accident caused by a distracted driver, he changed the way he drives and the way he thinks about driving safety. In 2011, he founded EndDD.org (End Distracted Driving) and spends the majority of his professional time working to educate people about this issue — with the goal to reduce distracted driving incidents of all kinds.

Mr. Feldman shared some very powerful and personal messaging, along with several important reminders that focused on how to change driving behaviors to better ensure one’s personal safety, the safety of their passengers, as well as the safety of everyone on the road. In addition, the Equitrans Midstream Foundation expanded these important safe driving messages by partnering with EndDD to bring Mr. Feldman’s presentation to four local high schools in our Pennsylvania operating area.

In 2022, our Foundation is pleased to continue its partnership with EndDD by supporting the creation of a nationwide public service campaign geared toward preventing distracted driving among high school students.

Equitrans believes that having a safe-driving mindset should extend beyond the workplace, and we want our employees to be equipped to prevent distractions while driving for both work and personal travel. With safety as our top priority and number one Core Value, the more we share the importance of learning how to NOT DRIVE DISTRACTED, the safer all of us will be.

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Workplace Modernization

Recognizing the potential benefits of a flexible work model, Equitrans conducted a workplace modernization survey in June 2020, whereby office-based employees were asked to rank their workplace preferences based on a set of three “workplace personas” (anchor, flex, and remote). The next step in the process was for managers to review all positions in their departments and assign a workplace persona, or personas, to each position, based on the defined requirements of role. The final step was for employees to select their workplace persona based on the persona(s) assigned to their role.

Our workplace modernization activities, however, did not end there. As we and other companies prepared for the new normal of a larger remote workforce, E-Train recognized there would be concerns to address and conflicts to resolve — and our goal was to ensure a smooth transition as overall workplace plans were finalized. To replace our previous Telecommuting Policy, we implemented a new Workplace Modernization Policy, which includes topics such as workplace persona guidelines, relocation approval process, business travel expense protocol, and how to formally request a workplace persona assignment change.

Additionally, to assist our employees with changes related to our return-to-office (RTO), we communicated workspace scheduling information and general tax expectations (for remote employees), and created two RTO Guides:

  • The RTO Guide for Managers was intended to help managers prepare for working with their teams in the new era of a “distributed environment.” The guide contains key details for managing successfully in a distributed environment, including tips for utilizing shared workspaces; how to determine when it may be most effective for a manager and their team to work in the office; and how a manager can partner with their team to establish best practices and facilitate a collaborative and engaging working environment — ensuring continued performance in line with our Core Value of Excellence. Managers were asked to maintain an inclusive, forward-thinking environment that values the person as a whole instead of focusing on only the work that they produce and were reminded to always place safety first.
  • The RTO Guide for Employees contained FAQs about workplace personas; tips and recommended etiquette for working in a shared workspace; how to determine when it may be most effective to work in the office; best practices to ensure success; and the importance of keeping safety our top priority.

With the reopening of our offices in April 2022, roughly 61% of office-based employees are working remotely (remote persona), 37% split their time between remote and at an Equitrans location (flex persona), and 2% are working in the office full-time (anchor persona). We expect our workplace modernization model to improve employee satisfaction and retention, expand our talent pool, and create additional flexibility for our employees, while promoting continued business execution.  

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