Water Resources

 Deficiencies in the DEIS:

Missing and Faulty Analysis

  • Prior to construction, PennEast shall complete all necessary surveys for water supply wells and groundwater seeps and springs, identify public and private water supply wells within the construction workspace, and file with the Secretary a revised list of water wells and groundwater seeps and springs within 150 feet of any construction workspace (500 feet in areas characterized by karst terrain)(Section4.3.1.5)

  • Prior to construction, PennEast shall file with the Secretary an updated Unanticipated Discovery of Contamination Plan for the Project to identify the management and field environmental professionals responsible for notification for contaminated sites. (Section4.3.1.7) 

  • Prior to the end of the draft EIS comment period, PennEast shall file with the Secretary documentation to identify any special construction procedures that will be implemented to minimize impacts on C-1 streams. PennEast shall provide documentation of consultation with appropriate federal and state agencies regarding C-1 streams, including identification of any agency recommendations and PennEast’s responses. (Section 4.3.2.2)

  •  Prior to the end of the draft EIS comment period, PennEast shall file with the Secretary proposed crossing methods for all waterbodies, including those with contaminated sediments. The proposed method shall ensure that the potential suspension of sediments during construction shall be avoided or minimized to the greatest extent possible so as not to change bioavailability of any potential contaminants present. PennEast shall include documentation of consultation with pertinent agencies and identify any recommended minimization measures. (Section 4.3.2.2)

  • Prior to construction, PennEast shall file a revised E&SCP with the Secretary for review and approval by the Director of the OEP, and PennEast shall complete its review of waterbody crossings with steep slopes and modify its Project-specific E&SCP as necessary to address waterbody crossing methods for steep embankments and bank stabilization issues, and include measures to address erosion, sedimentation, and restoration of steep embankments. (Section 4.3.2.2)

  • Prior to construction, PennEast shall file with the Secretary its final hydrostatic test plan that identifies the final hydrostatic test water sources and discharge locations, and provides documentation that all necessary permits and approvals have been obtained for withdrawal from each source. PennEast’s plan shall provide the approximate water volume that will be withdrawn and discharged as both a Project-total amount, and a daily amount, for each pipeline segment. Also, PennEast’s plan shall detail the decision process for determining when an alternative water source will be used during exceptional dry periods when low flow conditions may be encountered. (Section 4.3.2.5)

  • Prior to construction, PennEast shall file with the Secretary documentation after consulting with appropriate local, state, and federal agencies regarding any in-water timing restrictions which are more restrictive than those required by the FERC Procedures (e.g., June 1 through September 30 to protect coldwater fisheries; and June 1 through November 30 to protect coolwater and warmwater fisheries). (Section 4.3.3.2)

Key Writing Points For Comments


  • The pipeline will cross 32 of New Jersey’s most pristine “C-1” protected steams and cross the buffers to these streams a total of 77 times. The DEIS provides no detailed construction plans for crossing these streams without negatively impacting them, nor plans for minimizing impacts to riparian buffers (river banks), despite requests from NJ DEP and FERC. The DEIS analysis cannot be used for any Clean Water Act decisions because the standards FERC applies are completely different.

  • The total number of impacted streams has not been finalized since the site-specific surveys have not been completed. Including many smaller streams that have not yet been incorporated into the DEIS will substantially increase the number of impacted waterways and thus add to the project’s cumulative impact.

  • Many of the streams that PennEast would cross feed into the Delaware & Raritan Canal, which supplies drinking water to more than 1.5 million people in central New Jersey.  The DEIS has not examined whether increased sedimentation and nutrient-loading would negatively impact water quality.

  • The arsenic report submitted by PennEast has serious flaws as noted by Dr. Tullis Onstott, a Princeton University professor.  FERC must require PennEast to redo this study to correct these flaws and determine the risks of increased arsenic in groundwater.  PennEast blatantly ignores Dr. Onstott's Arsenic issues and incorrectly characterizes them as a construction-only activity. The issues identified by Dr. Onstott are on-going arsenic mobilization from the continuing operation of the pipeline which PennEast fails to recognize as a vital impact to the community and region in regards to the safety of our drinking water.

  • The DEIS does not adequately consider the impacts to ground water of dewatering wetlands.

  • The DEIS did not provide information on how many and which private wells are within 150 feet of the route. The DEIS is incomplete without this information.  

  • The DEIS reports that the following effects “would be considered permanent” (pg.4-62): “erosion, sedimentary input to the waterbody, altered shaded habitats which could result in a decrease in fish due to increased predation, stream bank scrubbing, and conversion of forested wetlands to scrub-shrub wetlands.” The DEIS then claims that these impacts will be minimized by mitigation, but it provides no data on how such mitigation will succeed or that such mitigation has ever succeeded in addressing these types of permanent impacts.

  • The DEIS claims that the soil, hydrology, and vegetation of areas disturbed from construction can be restored to pre-construction conditions, but PennEast has yet to finalize its required Wetland Restoration Plan in consultation with the US Army Corps of Engineers and state agencies. 

  • The DEIS does not investigate how blasting along the proposed route in NJ could seriously disrupt ground water flow to aquifers and wells.

  • The DEIS does not accurately identify and map many streams.  If your property has a stream that is not identified in the DEIS, you should identify the existence and location of the stream in a comment.

Specific Examples:

  • The DEIS fails to mention proposed blasting within close proximity (120 yards) of the Swan Creek Reservoir dam. That blasting could threaten the integrity of the dam, the drinking supply for Lambertville, and the safety of Lambertville residents.

  • The DEIS fails to adequately explain how they will avoid the major risks from the abandoned mines and the major ice scours if allowed to cross the Susquehanna River. This is another potential disaster in this area for the heath of the river and everyone downstream.

  • The pipeline would cross two public water supply well areas within 500 feet of the Lambertville reservoir. FERC has not adequately examined the risk to these public water supplies.
 
 

Sample Letter  


Secretary Bose
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
888 First Street, NE
Washington, DC  20426



Re:  Docket CP15-558-000 – Proposed PennEast Pipeline Project


Dear Secretary Bose and Members of FERC:


I am (enter your name and state if you are an intervener) in this proceeding who lives in (enter your address or Twsp).  I am commenting on the PennEast Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS).  The PennEast Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) is deficient and should be withdrawn.  I am concerned about the following water resource  issues:


The pipeline will cross C-1 steams 71 times. The DEIS has provided no construction plans, nor plans for minimizing impacts to riparian buffers, as requested by numerous interveners, NJ DEP and FERC.

The pipeline crosses 2 public water supply well areas. It passes within 500’ of the Lambertville reservoir. The DEIS has yet to provide information on how many and which private wells are within 150 feet of the route. The DEIS is incomplete without this information.

The DEIS reports that the following effects “would be considered permanent” (p.4-62): erosion, sedimentary input to the waterbody, altered shaded habitats which could result in a decrease in fish due to increased predation, stream bank scrubbing, and conversion of forested wetlands to scrub-shrub wetlands, though these impacts will be minimized by mitigation. The DEIS provides no data on how such mitigation will succeed
.
The DEIS claims that disturbed areas can be restored to pre-construction conditions regarding soil, hydrology, and vegetation, but PennEast has yet  to finalize a Project-specific Wetland Restoration Plan in consultation with the USACE and state agencies, so how do we know that this is true?

​The arsenic report submitted by PennEast has serious flaws as noted by Dr. Tullis Onstott, a Princeton University professor.  FERC must require PennEast to redo this study to correct these flaws and determine the risks of increased arsenic in groundwater.  PennEast blatantly ignores Dr. Onstott's Arsenic issues and incorrectly characterizes them as a construction-only activity. The issues identified by Dr. Onstott are on-going arsenic mobilization from the continuing operation of the pipeline which PennEast fails to recognize as a vital impact to the community and region in regards to the safety of our drinking water.

With such large data gaps, it seems absurd that this DEIS could be published for public comment. It violates NEPA for an EIS to claim that mitigation will be successful without providing supporting data or analysis. I urge FERC to withdraw this deficient DEIS and to extend the public comment period so that the public can comment on a complete DEIS.

Sincerely,

 

 


 
You will have a FERC ID, if
you filed as an intervener or have filed previously.

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You will need to know the Docket # CP15-558 when you file.

Comments to FERC on the Docket

Below are some of the teriffic comments from citizens they have already filed on the docket.

You can use these as a tool to help you build your comments. Some of these comments are from specialist in their field so your comment does not have to be as detailed. You can write about your concerns about WATER RESOURCES.