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Parsons, Tennessee, Water Intake Structure and Distribution Pipeline

Finding of No Signifigant Impact

Adoption of Environmental Assessment (EA) Prepared By The United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE)

Request for 26a approval and permanent easement for 5.3 acres of TVA land (Tract No. XTGIR-152E) on Kentucky Reservoir to construct a municipal water intake and distribution pipeline in Decatur County, Tennessee

The Proposed Action
Background
Alternatives
Impacts Assessment
Mitigation
Conclusion and Findings
Appendix A and B

The Proposed Action

The city of Parsons, Tennessee, proposes to construct a new 50- by 50-foot concrete water intake structure located at Tennessee River mile (TRM) 136 and a 6.1–mile, 24-inch water distribution pipeline in Decatur County, Tennessee, between the Parsons Water Treatment Plant (PWTP) and the proposed intake structure. The water pipeline would be built on a new right-of-way 40 feet in width and would occupy about 29.6 acres. The water intake structure and approximately 1.1 miles of the water pipeline, comprising 5.3 acres of new right-of-way, would be located on TVA fee land, which would require Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) approval for an easement.

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Background

On September 25, 2003, on behalf of the city of Parsons, Tennessee, TLM Associates submitted a joint application for a Department of the Army permit pursuant to Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 and for TVA approval pursuant to Section 26a of the TVA Act for the proposal to build a water intake structure and distribution pipeline. TLM Associates also submitted a TVA Land Use Application on behalf of the city of Parsons.

The proposed action would require a permanent water intake structure at TRM 136.0, left bank, Kentucky Lake, and a 6.1–mile, 24-inch water pipeline on a 40-foot right-of-way in Decatur County, Tennessee. The water pipeline would cross six perennial or intermittent streams and forested wetlands adjacent to the Beech River.

The purpose of the proposed action by the city of Parsons is to improve the reliability, quality, and quantity of water available to PWTP, which currently serves the city of Parsons, Decatur County, Perryville Utility District, North Utility District, Decaturville, and Scotts Hill. Based on current and future population growth and water usage projections, upgrades to the PWTP and the overall water distribution system were proposed by TLM to meet the immediate needs and to accommodate the projected growth in the area over a 20-year period.

The Southwest Tennessee Development District (SWTDD) prepared an Environmental Review Report on August 12, 2003, for use by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Utilities Service in support of an application to obtain funds for the proposed project. As a result of pre-coordination with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the Tennessee State Historical Preservation Officer (SHPO), detailed surveys were performed to address potential effects to federally listed species and cultural resources. Additional pre-coordination with the Chickasaw Nation, the Creek Nation of Oklahoma, Natural Resources Conservation Service, USACE, TVA, and Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation provided necessary planning information and permits. The USACE, TVA, and the state of Tennessee issued Joint Public Notice 03-94 on December 17, 2003. USACE completed an EA and FONSI for the proposed action on January 30, 2004. TVA has independently reviewed the USACE EA and the environmental information submitted by SWTDD in support of the USDA grant application and confirmed their findings.

A copy of the USACE EA is attached as Appendix A. TVA also incorporates by reference the Environmental Review Report submitted to USDA by SWTDD. A copy of the Environmental Review Report is attached as Appendix B.

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Alternatives

While planning this project, the Environmental Review Report for the proposed project considered various recommendations for improving the water supply to PWTP. The proposed action (the Preferred Alternative) is the only alternative that would provide adequate, reliable water service to PWTP. A second Action Alternative considered an increased water distribution system and a new water treatment plant. This alternative, considered a long-term plan, would not meet the region’s immediate water demand needs. The No Action Alternative is not preferred because it would not meet the current or future demand needs for the city or regional area.

During the development of the proposed action, an alternative site for the proposed water intake was considered approximately 100 feet south of the proposed location. The proposed water intake location and water pipeline route were chosen to avoid impacting significant archaeological sites. This preferred route is analyzed in detail in the SWTDD Environmental Review Report and USACE EA.

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Impacts Assessment

The Environmental Review Report concludes that the impacts to terrestrial plant and animal communities would be short term and insignificant. TVA identified no uncommon plant or animal communities in the project area. Potential impacts to migratory waterfowl would be minimized by the measures listed below, which are necessary to protect the wetlands and streams in the project area. No federally listed endangered or threatened plant species are known to occur or are likely to occur within the project area, and, consequently, no impacts to federally listed plant species are anticipated. Three federally listed endangered animal species are known from the project vicinity. Surveys conducted by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency indicated “no adverse impacts would occur to the gray bats (Myotis grisescens),” and neither of the mussel species (orange foot pimpleback, Plethobasus cooperianus; ring pink, Obovaria retusa) were located during surveys in the area of the proposed intake structure. The proposed project would not likely adversely affect any listed species. By letter of August 8, 2003, the USFWS concurred with this finding.

The Environmental Review Report indicated that the majority of the proposed 6.1-mile water pipeline right-of-way would follow existing, cleared right-of-way. Six perennial or intermittent streams would be crossed by the pipeline. The Environmental Review Report concluded that the proposed project would temporarily cause minor adverse impacts to aquatic ecology. TVA’s independent review also indicated that aquatic fauna could potentially be impacted by the water pipeline construction because of the nature of the streams and diversity of the aquatic fauna in the project area. The aquatic fauna in the Tennessee River, however, would not be significantly affected by the withdrawal of up to 7 million gallons per day (MGD) of water through the proposed intake structure. To avoid impacts to aquatic habitat and fauna, TVA would require that all perennial streams be bore drilled instead of trenched. Best management practices (BMPs) and other streamside protection measures would be used to minimize the impacts of water pipeline construction on area streams and the Tennessee River. With the implementation of these measures, impacts to streams, aquatic life, and water quality are expected to be insignificant.

The proposed water pipeline would cross two forested wetland areas. Approximately 1.38 acres of wetlands would be affected by construction of the line. Because the proposed project must accommodate itself to the existing fixed location of the PWTP, there is no practicable alternative to construction of the project in wetlands. The pipeline design for the project minimizes impacts to wetlands by occupying just 20 feet of the ROW width. Furthermore, the right-of-way within the wetland areas would not be routinely maintained and would be allowed to return to its natural state. Finally, additional BMPs and other mitigation measures identified below in this FONSI would be used to further lessen impacts. Through all these actions, TVA has ensured that all practicable measures will be utilized to minimize wetland impacts. Thus, the directives under EO 11990 have been met, and overall wetland impacts would be insignificant.

The proposed construction of the water intake and portions of the underground water pipeline would be located in identified floodplains. For compliance with Executive Order 11988, these proposed activities are considered repetitive actions in the floodplain that would result in minor floodplain impacts. To minimize adverse impacts, all items and equipment subject to flood damage in the pump station would be located above TVA Flood Risk Profile elevation 381.5, and the water pipeline area would be returned to preconstruction conditions after completion of the project. In addition, with the implementation of the measures listed below, construction in these areas would not result in any increase in flood hazard. The water intake structure as proposed would meet requirements to ensure safe navigation.

The proposed 50- by 50-foot water intake structure is located on a tract allocated for wildlife management in TVA’s Kentucky Reservoir Land Management Plan. The existence of a dewatering pump station within Beech Bend Park and a sand and gravel operation adjacent to and across the river from the proposed structure negate any contrasting land use issues. The water intake and pipeline construction are compatible with current land uses, and the proposed action would not negatively affect prime farmland. Impacts to recreation activities and visual aesthetics would be temporary and short-term and would be insignificant. The project would not conflict with the uses of the existing Beech Bend Campground.

The water pipeline route was relocated to avoid impacting several archaeological sites identified during a detailed investigation conducted in consultation with the Tennessee SHPO. In addition, the Chickasaw Nation and Creek Nation of Oklahoma had no objections to the project as proposed. By letter of August 18, 2003, the SHPO agreed that no historic properties would be affected by the water pipeline and intake structure.

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Mitigation

The proposed action contains standard measures, including the use of BMPs and other practices to minimize environmental impacts, some of which are listed in Section 5.3 of the USACE EA. Standard conditions would be placed in the permit to ensure that equipment is flood proofed and that the water intake would not interfere with navigation. In addition, TVA’s independent review requires the implementation of the following mitigation measures to reduce the environmental impacts that would result from the proposed action:

  • Hydrology and/or drainage patterns will be maintained, and preconstruction contours of the waterway (rivers, creek, wetlands) will be restored upon completion of the work.
  • Erosion control BMPs will be implemented and maintained.
  • Any exposed slopes and stream banks will be stabilized immediately upon completion of the water pipeline crossing of each water body.
  • Wetland and stream bank rights-of-way will be replanted with native vegetation approved by TVA. Guaranteed survival of plantings will be maintained for a period of two years. To avoid impacts due to the spread of invasive plant species, revegetation of all disturbed areas will be done with seed mixes that do not contain any of the species identified as a “Severe Threat” on the Invasive Exotic Pest Plants of Tennessee list.
  • All perennial stream crossings by the water pipeline will be bore drilled.
  • The use of herbicides for construction in wetlands and streamside management zones will be restricted to stump or spot treatment of individual trees, using herbicides approved for use in aquatic areas.
  • No more than 7 MGD will be withdrawn from the Tennessee River.

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Conclusion and Findings

The SWTDD Environmental Review Report and USACE EA for this proposal conclude that construction and operation of the water pipeline and water intake structure would not result in a significant adverse impact upon the environment. This conclusion takes into account the implementation of the standard commitments, such as the use of BMPs. TVA’s conclusion is also based on the implementation of the mitigation measures mentioned above. TVA finds that the project would not affect historic properties and would likely not adversely affect endangered or threatened species. TVA believes that with the stipulations listed in the TVA independent review, the environmental impacts of the proposed water intake structure and water pipeline are adequately addressed by the USACE EA, which TVA hereby adopts and incorporates by reference.

Environmental Policy and Planning’s NEPA Administration staff reviewed the USACE Final EA, agreed with the conclusion, and determined that the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement is not required.

Original signed by:
Jon M. Loney
Manager, NEPA Administration
Environmental Policy and Planning
Tennessee Valley Authority

Date: February 13, 2004

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Appendices

Appendix A - Parsons USACE EA (200 kb)

Appendix B - Environmental Reports 1, 2, and 3 (3.4 mb)

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