CONCORD, Mass. – The Norwood Municipal Light Department 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 the replacement of two transmission lines in Norwood, Mass. This work is proposed in wetlands bordering Neponset River at a utility transmission corridor between Bullard Street and Dean Street in Sharon and Norwood.
The Norwood Municipal Light Department proposes the discharge of .018 acre of permanent fill, 7.12 acres of temporary fill, and 6.26 acres of secondary impacts to waters of the U.S. associated with the replacement of two, aged 115-kV transmission lines that provide electricity to the town of Norwood. Because this right of way (ROW) was chosen in the late 1960s prior to the Clean Water Act of 1972, the ROW contains significant areas of wetland that will be impacted during construction activities. The two transmission lines are supported by H-frame wooden transmission towers which are 45 years old and nearing the end of their useful service.
It is important that these structures be replaced before any fail which could result in significant interruption in electric transmission. The permanent fill, .018 acre (812 square feet), is associated with the placement of new utility structures in wetland areas. To facilitate temporary access during construction, swamp mats will be placed within wetland areas for access to new structure locations, equipment staging, and conductor stringing areas.
Following the completion of work, the swamp mats will be removed and the area will be re-graded as necessary to restore to preconstruction conditions. After re-grading, the disturbed soils will be reseeded as necessary with a wetland seed mix or will be allowed to re-vegetate naturally.
Secondary impacts for this project include permanently converting 6.26 acres of forested wetland to scrub/shrub and/or emergent wetland types. These impacts are associated with the removal of trees along an approximately 50-foot strip of land adjacent to the presently maintained ROW. To minimize soil disturbance and subsequent erosion, trees will be cut close to the ground and stumps and roots will remain in place.
The Walker Property in Norwood, Mass., has been selected for preservation as the principal means of compensatory mitigation for unavoidable temporary and permanent wetland impacts. The Walker Property is an 83.4-acre parcel that is predominantly forested wetland. The parcel is situated between two properties already in conservation, therefore creating one, large contiguous preservation area.
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. The public notice, with more specifics on the proposed work, can be viewed on the Corps website at: www.nae.usace.army.mil/Missions/Regulatory/PublicNotices.aspx.
Public comments on this proposed work by the Norwood Municipal Light Department (file #NAE-2012-01538) should be forwarded no later than May 20, 2015 to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District, Regulatory Division (ATTN: Lindsey Lefebvre), 696 Virginia Road, Concord, MA 01742-2751. Additional information is available from Permit Project Manager Lindsey Lefebvre at 978-318-8295 or toll free 800-343-4789 or 800-362-4367 (if calling from within Massachusetts) or by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.