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LRH 2001-074-OHR

Published June 9, 2014
Expiration date: 7/8/2014

TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:  The following application has been submitted for a Department of the Army Permit under the provisions of Section 404 of the Clean Water Act.   This notice serves as the Corps of Engineers’ request to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency to act on Section 401 Water Quality Certification for the following application.

 

APPLICANT:            Mr. Todd S. Jonas

                                  Rolling Hills Generating, LLC

                                  Omaha, Nebraska 68154

 

LOCATION:  The proposed project is associated with upgrades to the Rolling Hills Generating Facility. The Rolling Hills Generating Facility is located north of the Village of Wilkesville, Wilksville Township, Vinton County, Ohio at latitude 38.084621˚East and longitude 82.333796˚West. The upgrade would also involve construction of two water lines in a single right-of-way corridor from the above location to the southeast and terminating at the Ohio River in Sailsbury Township, Meigs County, Ohio.   The project proposes a water intake structure in the Sailsbury Township location on the Right Bank at Ohio River Mile Point 255.1.  A project location map is attached to this notice as Drawings 1 through 3.

 

DESCRIPTION OF PROPOSED WORK:  The applicant proposes to discharge dredged and/or fill material into waters of the United States (U.S) in association with the conversion and expansion of the existing Rolling Hills Generating Facility.  The applicant is proposing to convert the current Rolling Hills Generating Facility from a simple cycle electric generating facility to a combined cycle electric generating facility. The current generating facility utilizes a simple cycle combustion process via five natural gas fired combustion turbines. The conversion would require expansion and redevelopment of the current generating facility, adding four heat recovery steam generators and two steam generators to four of the combustion turbines. One combustion turbine would remain as a simple cycle unit.

 The current generating facility requires approximately 80,000 gallons per day of process water obtained from the Leading Creek Conservancy District, Rutland OH. The current generating facility is permitted to discharge up to 50,000 gallons of industrial wastewater per day over a time frame of at least 8 hours to Flatlick Run. The converted generating facility would require an estimated 12 million gallons per day (MGD) for steam capabilities from the Ohio River.  An estimated 2 MGD of effluent (predominantly from the cooling towers) would be returned to the Ohio River. A 17-mile water pipeline(s) easement for intake and effluent water pipelines from the converted generating facility to the Ohio River would temporarily discharge fill material into 80 streams totaling 2,952 linear feet of streams and 4 wetlands totaling 0.105 acres within the proposed right-of-way. All discharges into streams and wetlands within the proposed water pipeline(s) easement would be temporary and returned to pre-construction conditions after installation of the pipelines. The proposed outfall would not require the discharge of dredged or fill material into any water of the U.S.

 The converted generating facility would require outfall and intake structures at the Ohio River.  Installation of a pump station and access road near the outfall and intake structures would not fill any waters of the U.S. Installation of the intake structure would require dredging and placement of rip-rap and would permanently fill approximately 0.12 acres below the ordinary high water mark (OHWM) of the Ohio River to an average depth of 2.0 feet. Annual maintenance dredging at the intake structure would be required to an average depth of 5.0 feet. To ensure current and future integrity of the shoreline at the outfall and intake locations, approximately 605 linear feet of shoreline (parallel to the shoreline) would be armored with rip-rap. This would require placement of 0.77 acre (approximately 2,900 cubic yards) of rip-rap below the Ohio River OHWM. Installation of the outfall structure would not fill any waters of the U.S.

 This conversion project would permanently fill six wetlands totaling 0.67 acres, a 0.014 acre pond, and six ephemeral streams totaling 1,928 linear feet at the Rolling Hills Generating Facility site. These streams and wetlands are currently located just outside the power block fence line and would be permanently filled to accommodate the expanded footprint required for the conversion. The project would also temporarily extend the culvert at the crossing of Flatlick Run and State Route 160 an additional 100 feet to the west to provide a temporary north-south access road.

 

ALTERNATIVES ANALYSIS:   As a result of the proposal, fill material would be discharged into 0.67 acres of wetlands, a 0.014 acre pond, and 1,928 linear feet of ephemeral streams at the Rolling Hills Generating Facility site.  The project does not require access or proximity to or siting within the streams or wetlands to fulfill its basic purpose and is considered a non-water dependent activity.  The Section 404(b)(1) Guidelines state that for non-water dependent activities, practicable alternatives that do not involve wetlands are presumed to be available, unless clearly demonstrated otherwise.  The applicant is required to provide an alternatives analysis that must overcome the presumption prior to receiving authorization for the placement of fill material. 

 The applicant has submitted an alternatives analysis for the facility expansion, the pipeline route, the wastewater outfall location, and the water intake location and configuration. A complete copy of the alternative analysis can be reviewed, by appointment, at the location indicated at the beginning of this notice.  No permit will be issued until our review of the alternative analysis clearly demonstrates that practicable upland alternatives are not available to achieve the overall project purpose.

 

AVOIDANCE AND MINIMIZATION:  In evaluating a project area containing waters of the U.S., consideration must be given to avoiding these areas.  If waters of the U.S. cannot be avoided, the discharge of fill material into waters of the U.S. must be minimized.  A total of 4.237 acres of wetlands and 11,992 linear feet of streams potentially subject to jurisdiction under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act exist within the project area.

 According to the applicant the proposed discharge of fill material into wetlands and streams is unavoidable.  The applicant is geographically limited by the location of the existing facility and surrounding features.  State Route 160 lies to the east of the site.  The applicant has indicated that the majority of permanent impacts would be to features which are man-made on-site stormwater management features.  The applicant has also indicated that a pipeline route utilizing a single trench to install the intake and outfall lines would further avoid impacts to waters.  The applicant has indicated that high-quality waters were avoided where possible and a total of 30 streams and 11 wetlands were avoided along the pipeline route. 

 The applicant has indicated the discharge of fill material into waters of the U.S. has been avoided and minimized and has indicated that the proposed discharges of fill material into waters of the U.S. are unavoidable. 

COMPENSATORY MITIGATION PLAN:  As mitigation for the proposed discharge of fill material into jurisdictional streams and wetlands, the applicant has submitted a conceptual mitigation plan for permanent fills to streams and wetlands that includes the purchase of mitigation banking credits for wetland fills; the construction of on-site mitigation for stream and wetland fills; and the construction of off-site mitigation for stream and wetland fills at the facility expansion site. 

WATER QUALITY CERTIFICATION:  A Section 401 Water Quality Certification is required for this project.  It is the applicant’s responsibility to obtain certification from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. 

 

HISTORIC & CULTURAL RESOURCES:  The National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) has been consulted and it has been determined there are no properties currently listed on the Register which would be directly affected by the proposed work.  The applicant has completed a Phase I Cultural Resources Management (CRM) Survey for the entire proposed project area.  Several historic properties were identified in the study area for the CRM survey.  The Corps will review the survey to ensure it is technically adequate and to determine if additional CRM surveys are required.  A copy of this public notice, the Phase I CRM report and the Corps’ determination regarding effects to historic properties will be furnished to the State Historic Preservation Office for their review and response.  Comments concerning archaeological sensitivity of the project area should be based on collected data.

 

 

Table 1: Proposed Compensatory Mitigation 

 

Proposed Compensatory

Mitigation Method

 

Feature

 

Classification

Linear

Footage

Total

Acreage

 

Purchase mitigation banking credits or construct on-site mitigation

 

Wetland 5

Palustrine

Emergent

 

---

 

0.011

 

Pool 1

Palustrine

Emergent

 

---

 

0.014

Total

---

0.025

Purchase mitigation banking credits or construct on-site mitigation

Stream F1

Ephemeral

302

0.021

Stream F2

Ephemeral

430

0.028

Total

732

0.049

 

 

 

 

 

 

Purchase mitigation banking credits, construct on-site mitigation, or relocate and integrate into the converted facility’s stormwater control system

 

Ditch/Wetland L

Ephemeral / Palustrine Emergent

 

283

 

0.102

 

Ditch/Wetland M

Ephemeral / Palustrine Emergent

 

620

 

0.137

 

Basin N

Palustrine

 

---

 

0.338

 

Ditch O

 

Ephemeral

 

142

 

0.003

 

Ditch/Wetland P

Ephemeral / Palustrine

Emergent

 

151

 

0.017

 

Basin S

Palustrine

Emergent

 

---

 

0.065

Total:

1,196

0.662

GRAND TOTAL

1,928

0.736

 

THREATENED & ENDANGERED SPECIES:  The project is located within the known or historic range of the following threatened (T), endangered (E), or Proposed Endangered (PE) species: Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis) (E); Northern long-eared bat (Myotis septentrionalis) (PE);  American burying beetle (Nicrophorus americanus) (E); Fanshell mussel (Cyprogenia stegaria) (E); Pink mucket pearly mussel (Lampsilis orbiculata) (E); Sheepnose mussel (Plethobasus cyphyus) (E); Snuffbox mussel (Epioblasma triquetra) (E). 

The applicant has indicated suitable habitat for the Indiana bat is limited within the project area and has indicated implementation of the proposal would result in no more than 55 acres of tree clearing for the entire project.  The applicant proposes to remove any suitable habitat for the Indiana bat during the months when the bats are in hibernation and not roosting in trees.  Provided suitable Indiana bat habitat is removed between September 30 and April 1, the Corps has determined the proposed project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect the Indiana bat.  The habitat needs of the Northern long-eared bat are substantially similar to those of the Indiana bat.  Therefore, the Corps has determined that the project may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect the Northern long-eared bat. 

Due to the proposed project size, type, and location, the Corps has determined that the project may affect, but would not be likely to adversely affect the American burying beetle. 

The applicant has conducted a mussel survey in the area of the proposed freshwater intake on the Ohio River and on Leading Creek, the only areas of suitable mussel habitat evident which would be affected by the proposed project.  No threatened or endangered mussel species were located.  Therefore, the Corps has determined that the proposed project may affect but is not likely to adversely affect listed mussel species. 

The Corps has determined the proposed project is not likely to adversely affect the continued existence of any endangered species or threatened species, or result in the destruction or adverse modification of habitat of such species which has been determined to be critical.  This Public Notice serves as a request to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) for any additional information they may have on whether any listed or proposed to be listed endangered or threatened species may be present in the area which would be affected by the activity, pursuant to Section 7(c) of the Endangered Species Act of 1972 (as amended).  The Corps is also requesting the USFWS concur with the Corps endangered species determinations described above. 

 

PUBLIC INTEREST REVIEW AND COMMENT:  Any person who has an interest that may be adversely affected by the issuance of a permit may request a public hearing.  Requests for public hearings shall state, with particularity, the reasons for holding a public hearing.  The request must be submitted in writing to the District Engineer on or before the expiration date of this notice and must clearly set forth the interest which may be adversely affected and the manner in which the interest may be adversely affected by the activity.  This application will be reviewed in accordance with 33 CFR 320‑332, the Regulatory Program of the Corps, and other pertinent laws, regulations, and executive orders.  Our evaluation will also follow the guidelines published by the United States Environmental Protection Agency pursuant to Section 404(b) (1) of the CWA.  Interested parties are invited to state any objections they may have to the proposed work.  The decision whether to issue a permit will be based on an evaluation of the probable impact including cumulative impacts of the proposed activity on the public interest.  That decision will reflect the national concern for both protection and utilization of important resources.  The benefit that reasonably may be expected to accrue from the proposal must be balanced against its reasonably foreseeable detriments. 

All factors that may be relevant to the proposal will be considered including the cumulative effects thereof; of those are conservation, economics, aesthetics, general environmental concerns, wetlands, historic properties, fish and wildlife values, flood hazards, floodplain values, land use, navigation, shoreline erosion and accretion, recreation, water supply and conservation, water quality, energy needs, safety, food and fiber production, mineral needs, considerations of property ownership and, in general, the needs and welfare of the people.  Written statements on these factors received in this office on or before the expiration date of this public notice will become a part of the record and will be considered in the final determination.  A permit will be granted unless its issuance is found to be contrary to the public interest.

SOLICITATION OF COMMENTS:  The Corps is soliciting comments from the public, Federal, state, and local agencies and officials Indian Tribes and other interested parties in order to consider and evaluate the impacts of this proposed activity.  For accuracy and completeness of the administrative record, all data in support of or in opposition to the proposed work should be submitted in writing setting forth sufficient detail to furnish a clear understanding of the reasons for support or opposition.  Any comments received will be considered by the Corps to determine whether to issue, modify, condition or deny a permit for this proposal.  To make this decision, comments are used to assess impacts on endangered species, historic properties, water quality, general environmental effects, and the other public interest factors listed above.  Comments are used in the preparation of an Environmental Assessment and/or an Environmental Impact Statement pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act.  Comments are also used to determine the need for a public hearing and to determine the overall public interest of the proposed activity.

 

CLOSE OF COMMENT PERIOD:   All comments pertaining to this Public Notice must reach this office on or before the close of the comment period listed on page one of this Public Notice.  If no comments are received by that date, it will be considered that there are no objections. Comments and requests for additional information should be submitted to:

 

                        United States Army Corps of Engineer

                        Attn: CELRH-RD-E   Public Notice: LRH-2001-00074-OHR

                        502 8th Street

                        Huntington, West Virginia 25701-2070

Please note names and addresses of those who submit comments in response to this public notice become part of our administrative recordand, as such, are available to the public under provisions of the Freedom of Information Act.  Thank you for your interest in our nation’s water resources.  If you have any questions concerning this public notice, please contact Mr. Adam Fannin of the Energy Resource Branch at (304) 399-6901.