US Army Corps of Engineers
Nashville District

Public Notices

Public Notice No. 19-29; File No. LRN-2019-00167

Published Aug. 14, 2019
Expiration date: 9/14/2019

Public Notice No. 19-29   
Nashville District  
Application No. LRN-2019-00167 
Date:  August 13, 2019; Expires: September 14, 2019
Please address all comments to:
Nashville District Corps of Engineers
Regulatory Division (Attn:Aric Payne)
1301 Riverfront Parkway, Suite 206
Chattanooga, Tennessee 37402

SUBJECT:  Proposed discharge of fill material into waters of the U.S. in association with the proposed construction of a 3.18-Megawatt photovoltaic (PV) solar array within the Moccasin Bend Wastewater Treatment Plant facility, in Chattanooga, Hamilton County, Tennessee.

TO ALL CONCERNED:  The application described below has been submitted for a Department of the Army (DA) Permit pursuant to Section 404 of the Clean Water Act (CWA) (33 U.S.C. 1344).  Application (ARAP NRS No. 18.222) has also been made to the State of Tennessee, Department of Environment and Conservation, Division of Water Resources for a water quality certification pursuant to Section 401(a)(1) of the CWA (33 U.S.C. 1341).

APPLICANT:   City of Chattanooga, Waste Resources Division
                        Attn: Jeffrey Rose
                        P.O. Box 591
                        Chattanooga, Tennessee 37401

AGENT:           Jacobs Engineering Group
                        Attn: Rich Reaves
                        6600 Peachtree Dunwoody Road
                        400 Embassy Row, Suite 600
                        Atlanta, Georgia 30328

LOCATION:  The proposed project is located at 455 Moccasin Bend Road, near the existing Moccasin Bend Wastewater Treatment Plant, in wetlands adjacent to the Tennessee River; HUC 12 – 060200011202 – Upper Nickajack Lake-Tennessee River Watershed; Latitude N. 35.0508°, Longitude W. -84.3405°; Hamilton County, Tennessee.

DESCRIPTION OF PROPOSED WORK:  The applicant has proposed to permanently impact 2.730 acres of forested wetlands and temporarily impact 0.701 acres of palustrine forested (PFO) wetlands, for the construction and installation of a 3.18-Megawatt photovoltaic (PV) solar array within the Moccasin Bend Wastewater Treatment Plant (MBWWTP) facility, on an approximately 14.25 acre site.  The installation of a PV solar facility onsite at the MBWWTP will provide supplemental power to the existing facility, resulting in financial benefits to end users by offsetting approximately 8-9% of the annual energy demand.  The proposed project would include the tree removal on 14.25 acres, the preparation and grading of 11.25 acres, including permanent impacts to 2.730 acres PFO wetlands, and temporary impacts to 0.701 acres of PFO wetlands.  Once completed, the PV solar array will include the construction and installation of pad-mounted switchgear, two (2) 480V-12.47kV, 1500VA pad-mounted transformers, and 9,360 individual 340-watt PV solar panels on a fixed axis system.

Plans and location maps of the proposed project are provided in this notice. If you wish to view additional plans, please contact this office or visit our web site at:
http://www.lrn.usace.army.mil/Media/PublicNotices.aspx

PURPOSE AND NEED:  According to the permit application, the MBWWTP is the largest user of power among the City facilities, accounting for approximately 50% of the City’s power costs. The purpose of the project is the installation of a PV solar facility onsite at the MBWWTP to provide supplemental power to the facility.  The project is needed to offset the power purchase at the facility and provide a more economical means of providing power, and to reduce the overall cost of the facility.

AVOIDANCE AND MINIMIZATION OF IMPACTS TO WATERS OF THE U.S.:  According to the applicant, avoidance and minimization efforts were made during the planning and design phases of this project to minimize the overall project footprint and designing the layout such that impacts to waters of the U.S. would be avoided to the extent practicable, and to minimize impacts that were not avoidable.   A preliminary design included a site layout that would have required additional fill and disturbances within waters of the U.S., but subsequent design revisions determined practicable alternatives to the site layout.  Based on the information
submitted in the application, the proposed plan will avoid impacts to 3.751 acres of PFO wetlands.  The applicant’s alternatives analysis included no action and one action alternative (the selected alternative).  The applicant stated that any proposed temporary impacts will be returned to pre-construction conditions and be allowed to naturally re-vegetate or be seeded once construction activities are completed.

COMPENSATORY MITIGATION:  To compensate for unavoidable permanent impacts to 2.730 acres of wetland, the applicant proposes to purchase 5.460 acres of forested wetland credits from the Sequatchie Valley Mitigation Bank.  The proposed wetland impacts are within the primary service area of this mitigation bank.

PUBLIC INTEREST REVIEW/CUMULATIVE EFFECTS:  The decision whether to issue a DA permit will be based on an evaluation of the probable impacts including cumulative impacts of the activity on the public interest.  That decision will reflect the national concern for both protection and utilization of important resources.  The benefit, which reasonably may be expected to accrue from the proposal, must be balanced against its reasonably foreseeable detriments.  All factors which may be relevant to the proposal will be considered including the cumulative effects thereof; among 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. In addition,  the evaluation of the impact of the activity on the public interest will include
application of the guidelines promulgated by the administrator, Environmental Protection Agency, under authority of  Section 404(b)(1) of the CWA(40CFR Part 230).

SOLICITATION OF COMMENTS:  The USACE 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.  Any comments received will be considered by the USACE 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, historical
properties, water quality, and general environmental effects, and the other public interest factors listed above.  Comments are used in the preparation of an Environmental Assessment (EA) and/or an Environmental Impact Statement pursuant to NEPA.  Comments are also used to determine the need for a public hearing and determine the overall public interest of the proposed activity.  An EA will be prepared by this office prior to a final decision concerning issuance or denial of the requested DA Permit.

HISTORIC AND CULTURAL RESOURCES:  Based on the information provided by the applicant and a review of the National Register website http://nrhp.focus.nps.gov/natreghome.do?searchtype=natreghome, there is one (1) National Historic Landmark-listed property, ten (10) National Register of Historic
Places-listed properties, 32 archaeological resources, one (1) National Park Service American Battlefield Projection Program resource, and one National Historic Trails route within the study area.  None of these resources are recorded within the proposed project’s direct footprint.

This public notice serves to initiate the public involvement requirements of Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, as amended.  The Corps invites responses to this public notice from Native American Tribes or tribal governments; Federal, State, and local agencies; historical and archeological societies; and other parties likely to have knowledge of or concerns regarding historic properties and sites of religious and cultural significance at or near the project area.  Copies of this public notice are being provided to the SHPO and Native American Tribes.  The Corps will consult with the SHPO, Native American Tribes and other consulting parties in accordance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act.

ENDANGERED/THREATENED SPECIES REVIEW:  Based on information provided by the applicant, and a review of the USFWS website, http://ecos.fws.gov/ecos/indexPublic.do , the following federally-listed species are known to or believed to occur in Hamilton County, Tennessee:

Species Nomenclature

Federal Status

Mammals

Gray bat (Myotis grisescens)

Endangered

Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis)

Endangered

Northern-long eared bat (Myotis septentrionalis)

Threatened

Clams

Dromedary pearlymussel (Dromus dromas)

Endangered

Orangefoot pimpleback (Plethobasus cooperianus)

Endangered

Pink mucket (Lampsilis abrupta)

Endangered

Rough pigtoe (Pleurobema plenum)

Endangered

Tubercled blossom (Epioblasma torulosa)

Endangered

Plants

Large-flowered Skullcap (Scutellaria montana)

Threatened

Small whorled Pogonia (Isotria medeoloides)

Threatened

Virginia spiraea (Spiraea virginiana)

Threatened

 

The Endangered Species Act (ESA) requires federal agencies to consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) pursuant to Section 7 of ESA on all actions that may affect a species listed (or proposed for listing) under the ESA as threatened or endangered or any designated critical habitat.  A copy of this notice is being furnished to the USFWS for their review.  Per this notification, we request comments from the USFWS concerning potential impacts to threatened and/or endangered species.  After receipt of comments, the USACE will evaluate the potential impacts to proposed and/or listed species and their designated critical habitat and initiate consultation with the USFWS, if required.

OTHER APPROVALS:   In addition to the DA permit, other federal, state, and/or local approvals may be required for the proposed work. Water Quality Certification from the State of Tennessee is required for the proposed work in accordance with Section 401(a)(1) of the Clean Water Act.

PUBLIC HEARING REQUESTS:  Any person may request, in writing, within the comment period specified in this notice, that a public hearing be held to consider this application.

Requests for public hearings shall state, with particularity, the reasons for holding a hearing.

COMMENT PERIOD:  Written statements received by September 14, 2019, will become a part of the record and considered in the determination.  Any response to this notice should reference the Corps Application No. LRN-2019-00167, and be directed to the Regulatory Division, Attention: Aric Payne, at the above address or at aric.j.payne@usace.army.mil.

 

/S/

Casey Ehorn
Chief, East Branch
Regulatory Division
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers