The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) on March 24 filed with the Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) a report with recommendations regarding Virginia Electric and Power’s (Dominion Virginia Power) proposed Idylwood Substation Rebuild project.
As noted in the filing, the company is seeking from the SCC a certificate of public convenience and necessity to rebuild the existing Idylwood substation in Fairfax County, Va. The purpose of the project is to comply with mandatory NERC reliability standards, to improve operational performance, and maximize available land use to accommodate future transmission terminations and transformation at the substation.
The DEQ also noted that the project proposes to shift the footprint of the substation within company-owned property, as well as to rebuild and rearrange the substation from a straight-bus arrangement to a breaker-and-a-half configuration using gas insulated substation bus and breakers.
The 230-kV transmission lines #202, #207, #251, #266, #2035, and #2097 would be rearranged as part of the project, the DEQ said.
Of natural heritage resources, the DEQ said that the company queried the state Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF), state Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (referred to in the report as FWS) databases to identify significant habitat that may be impacted by the project. The FWS Online Project Review indicated that there was no critical habitat within the project area, and the DCR review indicated that adverse impacts to natural heritage resources are not anticipated as a result of the project.
The DCR’s Division of Natural Heritage (DNH) searched its Biotics Data System for occurrences of natural heritage resources from the area outlined on a submitted map, the DEQ added, noting that Biotics historically documents the presence of natural heritage resources within two miles of the project area. However, due to the scope of the activity and the distance to the resources, the DCR does not anticipate that the project would adversely impact those natural heritage resources.
According to the DCR DNH, the current activity would not affect any documented state-listed plants or insects.
The DEQ added that one recommendation calls for the company to contact the DCR DNH to resubmit project information and a map for an update on that natural heritage information if the scope of the project changes and/or six months have passed before it is used.
Discussing wildlife resources, the DEQ said that the company queried the DGIF, DCR, and the FWS databases to identify threatened and endangered species that may be impacted by the project, with the DGIF database query identifying a number of listed species within a two-mile radius of the project site. DGIF does not anticipate the project to result in adverse impacts upon any listed wildlife or designated resources under its jurisdiction, the DEQ said.
The company is recommended to adhere to erosion and sediment controls, as appropriate, during ground disturbance, the DEQ said.
Of historic and archaeological resources, the DEQ said, for instance, that the state Department of Historic Resources (DHR) finds that the project would have minimal impact on the Washington & Old Dominion Railroad Historic District and that no additional archaeological or architectural survey is warranted.
If there is any federal involvement, the company should coordinate the project, or any portion thereof, with the responsible federal agency and the DHR to ensure compliance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, as amended, the DEQ said.
Among other things, the DEQ said that the state Department of Aviation (DOAV) noted that final siting of the transmission lines and finished heights for the proposed construction may create the potential for hazardous condition or limit the ability for a public use airport to fulfill its development goals under its approved airport layout plan.
The company is recommended to coordinate, as necessary, with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to ensure compliance with federal aviation regulations and to determine the need for further study of the impacts created by the project.
Provided the FAA determines that the proposed development does not constitute a hazard to air navigation, the DOAV has no objection to the project as submitted, the DEQ said.