CONCORD, Mass. – Joshua Schimmel, of the Springfield Water and Sewer Commission, is seeking a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District to conduct work in waters of the U.S. in conjunction with dredging and fill within the Connecticut River as part of the Connecticut River Sewers Crossing Project in Springfield and Agawam, Massachusetts. This work is proposed within the Connecticut River from West York Street in Springfield to 250 M Street Extension in Agawam.
The proposed work involves the installation of temporary structures and dredging within the Connecticut River and the discharge of dredged and/or fill material into the Connecticut River as part of the Connecticut River Sewers Crossing Project in Springfield and Agawam. The purpose of this project is to install new redundant sewer crossings to the Springfield Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility (SRWTF) on Bondi’s Island. This project is a part of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)–mandated and approved Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) Long Term Control Plan (LTCP).
This proposed project includes the installation of one 72-inch sewer siphon and two 42-inch sewer force mains. The SWSC plans to install a temporary pile-supported 160-foot-long by 40-foot-wide work trestle extending into the Connecticut River from the Agawam shore line so that barges, construction materials, and dredged materials can be on-loaded and off-loaded. This temporary work trestle will extend approximately 86 linear feet into the Connecticut River and will be removed post-construction. The SWSC will dredge and maintain a sewer pipeline trench as well as a barge channel throughout the construction phase of this project. An estimated 26,500 cubic yards of dredged material will be removed and dewatered/treated (as necessary) at the Bondi’s Island dredged material containment site.
Water drained from this material will be treated before it is outfalled into the Connecticut River. Bedding stones, a pre-cast concrete revetment mat, and some suitable dredged material will be used to backfill the new sewer pipelines. Remaining portions of dredged material will be deposited at an approved upland disposal site. The entire limits of disturbance, including the upriver angled sturgeon exclusion barrier area, is approximately 10.66 acres. Of this approximately 3.38 acres are the primary construction corridor where the dredging and pipe laydown occurs.
The SWSC proposes a phased work schedule, where they will maintain a construction area within one half of the Connecticut River crossing corridor at a time. The contractor will maintain pile-supported exclusion barriers, bubble curtains, etc. around the in-water construction area, in order to exclude sturgeon and other resident fish species from gaining access to the construction area.
The application for the federal permit was filed with the Corps in compliance with Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act, which provides for federal regulation of any work in, or affecting navigable waters of the U.S.; Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, which regulates the discharge or fill of material in U.S. waters, including wetlands; and Section 14 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 (33 USC 408), which regulates altering existing Corps civil works projects.
The authority to grant permission to alter any USACE civil works project is contained in Section 14 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899, as amended, codified at 33 USC 408 (“Section 408”). A requester has the responsibility to acquire all other permissions or authorizations required by federal, state, and local laws or regulations, including, but not limited to, any required permits from the USACE Regulatory Program. An approval under Section 408 does not grant any property rights or exclusive privileges nor does it authorize any injury to the property or rights of others. A permit pursuant to Section 10 and 404 shall not be granted until the Section 408 permission is issued.
This proposed project will impact more than 4 acres of Essential Fish Habitat (EFH). This habitat consists of sandy or cobble dominated sediment. Loss of this habitat may adversely affect species that use these waters and substrate. However, the Corps has made a preliminary determination that the site-specific adverse effect will not be substantial. Further consultation with the National Marine Fisheries Service regarding EFH conservation recommendations is being conducted and will be concluded prior to the final permit decision.
The public notice, with more specifics on the work proposed by the Springfield Water and Sewer Commission, can be viewed on the Corps website at https://www.nae.usace.army.mil/Missions/PublicNotices/.
Public comments on this work proposed by the Springfield Water and Sewer Commission (file # NAE-2017-0289) should be forwarded no later than April 27, 2020 to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District, Regulatory Division (ATTN: Paul Sneeringer), 696 Virginia Road, Concord, MA 01742-2751. Additional information is available from Permit Project Manager Paul Sneeringer at 978-318-8491 or toll free 800-343-4789 or 800-362-4367 (if calling from within Massachusetts) or by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.