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South Essex Sewerage District seeks Corps permit to place pipelines underneath waters of Salem Harbor

Published Oct. 4, 2013

CONCORD, Mass. – The South Essex Sewerage District 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 placing pipelines underneath the waters of Salem Harbor in Salem, Mass.

The South Essex Sewerage District is seeking approval to install approximately 6,000 linear feet of twin 24-inch high-density polyethylene (HDPE) pipelines underneath the waters of Salem Harbor and underneath the Federal navigation channel in the harbor to replace the existing submerged pipelines. The work is proposed in Salem Harbor with one end at the sewage treatment plant at 50 Fort Avenue in Salem and the other end coming ashore at the town of Marblehead property at Stramski Way in Marblehead, Mass.


The replacement pipeline work includes the discharge of dredged or fill material for first side-casting the excavated material on either side of the trench to be excavated for the installation of the pipelines and bedding material. Then the side-cast material will be placed back into the trench after the pipelines and the bedding material are completed. The old pipelines will be abandoned in place once the new pipelines are in place and operational.


The dredging/excavation portion of this project will impact approximately 150,000 square feet of Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) for various species and life stages. The area in which the material will be side-cast will temporarily impact another 7 acres of harbor bottom on either side of the excavated trench. Habitat at this site can be described as silt and clay. Temporary loss of this habitat or severe turbidity during the spawning season may adversely affect winter flounder during spawning and juvenile development.


However, since the harbor bottom will be returned to its original grade with the same material, as long as the excavation is done during the season when the fish species utilizing the harbor waters for spawning are not present and turbidity is minimized there should be no adverse affect to any EFH species or their habitat. For this reason, 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 application for the federal permit was filed 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; and with Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act, which provides for federal regulation of any work in, or affecting navigable waters of the United States. The public notice can be viewed on the Corps website at


Public comments on this proposed work by the South Essex Sewerage District (file # NAE-2013-1242) should be forwarded no later than Oct. 25, 2013 to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District, Regulatory Division (ATTN: Brian Valiton), 696 Virginia Road, Concord, MA 01742-2751. Additional information is available from Permit Project Manager Brian Valiton at 978-318-8166 or toll free 800-343-4789 or 800-362-4367 (if calling from within Massachusetts) or by email to:

Tim Dugan

Release no. 2013-099