Launch Slideshow

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The Long and Winding Road

The Long and Winding Road

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    To make up for filling and grading 3,450 square feet of wetlands to accommodate vehicles, 7,000 square feet of wetlands were placed in another location of the project area. Photos: Stantec

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    The amphibian and reptile diversion and monitoring program required the construction of 4,400 feet of silt fencing along the edge of the disturbance. On the exterior of the silt fencing, buckets were spaced to capture any amphibians or reptiles that would have crossed the work zone. The buckets were monitored several times weekly and the captured animals were logged and released safely. The inset photo shows the Blanding's turtle.

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    This aerial image outlines project plans.

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    West Groton Water Supply District launched an aggressive test well program from 1999 to 2002 to determine the location of its future water well. The above timeline recounts the milestones West Groton completed to establish the well.

The 2,000-foot access way from the main road to the control building traverses 1,000 feet of abandoned rail bed flanked by a stream and wetlands. After turning away from the abandoned rail bed, the access way curves around three other wetland areas before reaching the control building site. Building the access way required filling and grading 3,450 square feet of wetlands to accommodate vehicles. This impact was mitigated by proposing 7,000 square feet of wetlands replication area in another location within the project area.

The water main was constructed from the main road to the control building. Instead of winding around the access way and wetlands, the design incorporates horizontal directional drilling (HDD) to minimize the amount of open trench required in an environmentally sensitive area. HDD involves drilling a pilot hole and successively reaming it large enough to pull a long stretch of fused high-density polyethylene water main back through the hole. One drill segment of 10-inch pipe extends approximately 1,000 linear feet underneath the abandoned rail bed and a brook, and varies in depth from 5 to 20 feet. The other is about 600 linear feet, directly underneath a wetland at a depth of 5 to 15 feet. The Conservation Commission accepted this design because it minimizes trenching.

Timeline: 3 months to complete.

Local planning board approval. The board's concerns included site access, lighting, and the storage and delivery of typical water treatment chemicals to the pump station control building. To solve the lighting concerns, a light is mounted over the doorway of the control building and one is mounted on a utility pole. Both face downward to avoid light pollution. Also, speed limit signs posted on the access driveway help prevent any environmental damage vehicles could cause.

Timeline: 1 month.

Land acquisition. The water district bought 100 acres of land adjacent to the forest, which provides multiple benefits. Paid for in part with a grant from the state Executive Office of Environmental Affairs, the land gives the district a site for the well, protects the groundwater recharge area, and provides a route for the water to travel from forest land to the water distribution system without disturbing protected areas.

Timeline: 14 to 15 months to complete land acquisition.

Forest easements. At the local level, the forest is overseen by a town-appointed committee. The district met with the committee early and often to discuss the project. Ultimately, the committee granted use of the forest and trails for the water main and associated electrical and communication conduits. This agreement culminated in an easement including a 400-foot protective radius around the well, a 20-foot-wide permanent easement, and a 50-foot-wide construction easement along the water-main route.

In return, the district limited tree clearing, installed three fire hydrants along the water-main route to help fight against potential forest fires, and granted an easement to the town to use the district's 100 acres as recreation land.

Timeline: Approximately 10 months.