CONCORD, Mass. – Algonquin Gas Transmission, LLC, 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 constructing a pipeline project in Beverly Harbor and Collins Cove in Salem, Mass.
The proposed project involves work, structures and the discharge of fill material below the high tide line of waters of the U.S. in order to construct the Algonquin Gas Salem Lateral Project. The project includes the installation of 1.2 miles of new 16-inch diameter pipeline from the existing Hubline pipeline in Beverly Harbor to the Salem Harbor Electric Station to supply natural gas for electricity generation. The Salem Harbor Electric Station is converting from coal-fired electricity generation to natural gas-fired generation. The Salem Lateral Project begins at a new subsea tap connection with the Hubline pipeline and will run south to the Salem Harbor Electric Station.
The Salem Lateral will cross the marine areas of Beverly Harbor and Collins Cove using horizontal directional drilling to minimize impacts to the marine environment. The project will require the hydraulic dredging of an 85-foot by 55-foot area of the seafloor to a depth of -8.5 feet in Beverly Harbor. Approximately 1,500 cubic yards of sediment will be excavated and placed in hopper barges for temporary storage and decanting. The decanted material will then be placed back into the cofferdam.
A permanent, concrete vault will be installed below the seafloor in order to conduct future internal inspections of the Salem lateral line. The proposed vault will be about 8 feet by 10 feet. The upper elevation of this vault will lie approximately 1 foot below the existing seafloor elevation. The project also will include 0.67 acre of fill below the ordinary high water line of waters of the U.S. for the temporary fill of freshwater wetlands via swamp mats during the construction phase of the project where the pipeline will cross an overland section of Salem. After construction, the mats will be removed and the wetlands will be restored in place.
The project will impact 4,675 square feet of Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) for various species and life stages. This habitat consists of unvegetated, sandy bottom. Loss of this habitat may adversely affect these species. 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 proposed work, can be viewed on the Corps website at: http://www.nae.usace.army.mil/Missions/Regulatory/PublicNotices.aspx.
The application for the federal permit was filed with the Corps of Engineers 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 United States; and Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, which regulates the discharge or fill of material in U.S. waters, including wetlands.
Public comments on this work proposed by Algonquin Gas Transmission LLC (file # NAE-2014-114) should be forwarded no later than Oct. 8, 2014 to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District, Regulatory Division (ATTN: Kevin Kotelly), 696 Virginia Road, Concord, MA 01742-2751. Additional information is available from Permit Project Manager Kevin Kotelly at 978-318-8703 or toll free 800-343-4789 or 800-362-4367 (if calling from within Massachusetts) or by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.