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New England Power seeks permit to place fill to install utility structures, new transmission line in Millbury, Auburn

Published June 26, 2012

CONCORD, Mass. – The New England Power Company is seeking a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District to conduct work in waters of the United States in conjunction with installation of utility structures and a new transmission line in Millbury and Auburn, Mass.


The proposed work by New England Power Company includes the discharge of fill material below the ordinary high water line of waters of the U.S., including wetlands, for the installation of seven utility structures in conjunction with the construction of a new 115kV transmission line in Millbury and Auburn.


The Z-126 Transmission Line Project will be installed on an existing 250-foot wide Right-of-Way (ROW) adjacent to the existing A-127/B-128 115kV transmission lines resulting in permanent wetland impacts of approximately 140 square feet from the direct placement of seven electrical structures.


The project purpose is to improve the reliability of the electric transmission system in the region.  


To facilitate temporary access within wetlands during construction, swamp mats will be placed within wetlands and across an unnamed intermittent stream for access to new structure locations, equipment staging, and conductor stringing areas. Swamp mats consist of heavy timbers or planking joined to form stable platforms that are placed over the surface of wetlands. Wetland areas covered by swamp mats will be restored in place at the end of construction. Temporary wetland impacts from the placement of swamp mats will be approximately 2.44 acres.


In order to build the new transmission line and to provide adequate safety clearance for new electrical conductors, it will be necessary to clear trees along a 40-foot width between mile 1.10 to mile 6.88 of the existing Right-of-Way.


In wetland areas where this is necessary, there will be permanent conversion of forested wetlands to scrub-shrub and emergent vegetation wetlands. Secondary wetland impacts from wetland conversion due to tree clearing will be approximately 3.53 acres of forested wetland that will be converted to either scrub/shrub or emergent wetlands.


Total wetland impacts from permanent, temporary and secondary impacts will be approximately 5.97 acres. The new transmission line will extend approximately 6.9 miles between the existing Millbury No. 2 substation located on Grafton Street in Millbury and an existing switch tower near Elmwood Street in Auburn near the Leicester town line.


The application for the federal permit was filed by the New England Power Company with the Corps in compliance with Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, which regulates the discharge or fill of material in U.S. waters, including wetlands. The public notice, with more specifics on the proposed work, can be viewed on the Corps website at  http://www.nae.usace.army.mil. Select Regulatory and then public notices or go directly to http://www.nae.usace.army.mil/Regulatory/Public%20Notices/.


Public comments on this proposed work by the New England Power Company (file # NAE-2009-585) should be forwarded no later than July 26, 2012 to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District, Regulatory Division (ATTN: Ted Lento), 696 Virginia Road, Concord, MA 01742-2751. Additional information is available from Permit Project Manager Ted Lento at 978-318-8863 or toll free 800-343-4789 or 800-362-4367 (if calling from within Massachusetts) or by email to: ted.lento@us.army.mil.

Tim Dugan

Release no. 2012-062