An Expanding Area of Practice – Environmental Construction Monitoring

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Photo: Near-shore construction for the Seacoast Reliability Project—Little Bay, NH

By Elizabeth Olliver

Over the last few years, Normandeau has been expanding expertise and staff in the construction environmental monitoring arena. While we have provided this service sporadically for several utilities in the past, our involvement and level of effort increased significantly for both Eversource Energy’s Seacoast Reliability Project (SRP) in NH and the US Army Corps of Engineer’s Muddy River Flood Damage Reduction and Environmental Restoration project in Boston, MA. During pre-construction for both projects, Normandeau provided ecological expertise, including resource management and protection planning, and assistance with permitting. During and post-construction, Normandeau is providing Environmental Monitors to oversee construction activities and to ensure compliance with regulatory permit requirements and EPA’s Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP).

The SRP is a new 115 kV transmission line constructed in four towns in southeastern NH: Madbury, Durham, Newington, and Portsmouth. The line is approximately 13 miles long, built predominantly within an existing right-of-way, and includes overhead, submarine, and underground segments. Sensitive resources within the project area included a 0.9-mile submarine crossing under the Great Bay Estuary, estuarine and freshwater wetlands, rare plant and animal species, and several significant cultural resources. Throughout construction, Normandeau provided a state-approved Environmental Monitor who was on site daily working with the various contractors on avoidance of sensitive resources, installing and maintaining erosion and stormwater controls, and site restoration once construction of an area was completed. Now that all site work is complete, Normandeau is continuing to provide weekly and SWPPP inspections as needed until all areas are stabilized and vegetation is well established, as specified in the SRP permits.

 

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Photo: Freshly stabilized slope leading to Little Bay after cable burial and cable house restoration on SRP

The Muddy River is a portion of Frederick Law Olmsted’s Emerald Necklace park system in the Greater Boston Area near Fenway Park. The Muddy River Flood Damage Reduction and Environmental Restoration project is an effort spearheaded by the US Army Corps of Engineers to address issues associated with flooding and general ecological degradation. Phase 1 of the project consisted of “daylighting” a segment of the Muddy River previously conveyed through pipes and was completed in 2016. Normandeau assisted the prime project contractor, Charter Contracting Company (“Charter”), with erosion and sedimentation control plans, water quality monitoring, protection of fisheries and wildlife, and planting of wetlands and river banks. Phase 2 of the project began in July 2020 and consists of wet dredging of the channel and invasive species control in 12 work areas (about 1.8 miles of the Muddy River) over an estimated 3-year construction period to improve flow conveyance and flood storage capacity. Serving as the wetlands specialist, Normandeau is inspecting work areas and providing guidance on installation and maintenance of erosion and stormwater controls, and transportation and storage of dredged material. Following Normandeau’s weekly site inspections, reports are provided to Charter that proactively identify potential issues on erosion and stormwater controls and construction practices to ensure permit compliance. Normandeau also provides guidance on site restoration as dredging and invasive species control is completed in each work area and will continue to monitor these areas until they are stabilized and fully restored.

 

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Photo: Amphibious excavator dredging sediment in Work Area #7 of the Muddy River project

For more information on how we can help with your next construction project, visit our Contact Us page.