The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) on Sept. 6 filed with the Virginia State Corporation Commission recommendations concerning Virginia Electric and Power’s (Dominion) proposed Landstown-Thrasher Line #231 230-kV Transmission Line Rebuild in the cities of Virginia Beach and Chesapeake.
As noted in the report, Dominion has submitted an application to the commission for a certificate of public convenience and necessity for the proposed project, which involves rebuilding about 8.5 miles of the existing 230-kV, overhead, single-circuit transmission line #231 on double-circuit structures. The existing line runs from the company’s existing Landstown substation to the existing Thrasher substation.
The DEQ added that the project is entirely within existing right of way (ROW) or on company owned property. Dominion also proposes to replace 230-kV switches and perform minor conduit work at the Landstown and Stumpy Lake substations, as well as perform minor conduit work at the Thrasher substation.
The DEQ also noted that the proposed project would replace aging infrastructure to comply with the company’s mandatory transmission planning criteria to maintain the overall long-term reliability of the transmission system. Since the existing ROW is adequate to build the project, no new ROW is necessary.
Discussing water quality and wetlands, the DEQ said that its Office of Wetland and Stream Protection (OWSP) states that based on a review of the submitted wetland desktop report prepared for Dominion by Stantec, both wetland areas and stream corridors were identified within the existing 230-kV transmission line alignment. Since the project proposes to use existing Dominion ROW, no other alternatives for the project were considered. Also, the DEQ added, since the project involves rebuilding the line, Dominion anticipates minimum permanent impacts to state waters associated with the project.
The DEQ recommended, for instance, that prior to commencing project work, all wetlands and streams within the project corridor should be field delineated and verified by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Regarding natural heritage resources, the DEQ said, for instance, that according to the information in the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) Division of Natural Heritage’s (DNH) files, the North Landing River: Gum Swamp Conservation Site is located within the project area and has a biodiversity significance ranking of B2, which represents a site of very high significance. The natural heritage resources of concern at that site include the Duke’s skipper.
The DEQ also said that DCR DNH states that the current activity will not affect any documented state-listed plants or insects.
DCR recommended, among other things, that to minimize adverse impacts to the aquatic ecosystem as a result of the proposed activities, the company should implement and strictly adhere to applicable state and local erosion and sediment control/storm water management laws and regulations.
Discussing wildlife resources, the DEQ said that the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF) documents state-listed endangered canebrake rattlesnakes from multiple locations along the line rebuild area. DGIF recommends that if a canebrake rattlesnake is observed at any time during the development or construction of the project, then the company should contact DGIF so that an agency representative may safely capture and relocate the animal to a suitable site.
Regarding historic and archaeological resources, the DEQ said that the Department of Historic Resources (DHR) states that there are no impacts to known historic resources and recommends complete comprehensive archaeological and architectural surveys, which should be conducted by a qualified professional, in accordance with DHR guidelines prior to construction of any commission-approved alternative.