Iowa DNR seeking public comment regarding categorical exclusion decision on upgrade project for City of Harpers Ferry wastewater treatment system


Wastewater Treatment Plant upgrade project location ... Image courtesy of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

Lift station upgrade project location ... Image courtesy of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is seeking public comment in regard to an upgrade project for the City of Harpers Ferry wastewater treatment system. The project involves an upgrade to the City’s wastewater infrastructure. Application has been made for financial assistance through the State of Iowa Revolving Fund (SRF) loan program, which is authorized by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and administered by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in partnership with the Iowa Finance Authority.

ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW
An environmental review has been performed based on the procedures for implementing the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The proposed project was reviewed for eligibility for a categorical exclusion from NEPA review and was determined to be eligible for a categorical exclusion and, consequently, a preliminary decision that a Finding of No Significant Impact (FNSI) will not be prepared.

A categorical exclusion (CE) is a class of actions that a Federal agency has determined, after review by CEQ, do not individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the human environment and for which, therefore, neither an environmental assessment nor an environmental impact statement is normally required.

PUBLIC COMMENT
Persons disagreeing with the above environmental decision may submit comments to the Department of Natural Resources prior to September 5. Those comments should be submitted to DNR Environmental Specialist Karrie Darnell at karrie.darnell@dnr.iowa.gov or by calling 515-725-8340.

PROJECT DETAILS
The proposed project will consist of modifying the existing lagoons with new pond liners, a new diffused aeration system including piping, diffusers, blowers, and all associated piping and appurtenances. New influent and effluent flow meters will be installed. A new blower building will be constructed slab on grade, with a four-foot footing.

Expected depth of excavation for the new blower building is five feet.

New process valves and gate structures/weirs will be installed. Along with the modifications to the existing lagoon modifications, a new Submerged Attached Growth Reactor (SAGR) system will be installed to an approximate depth of 10 feet. Other work includes improvements to the fencing, new three-phase electrical service, miscellaneous repairs at the existing Main Lift Station, and new flow meters.

CATEGORICAL EXCLUSION
Justification for granting categorical exclusion involved the following:
• The project as proposed is solely directed toward minor upgrading or minor expansion of system capacity, rehabilitation of the existing system and system components, or construction of new minor ancillary facilities adjacent to or on the same property as existing facilities.
• This project will not involve new or relocated discharges to surface or ground water.
• This project will not result in substantial increase in the volume or the loading of pollutant to the receiving water.
• The project will not serve a population 30% greater than the existing population.
• The project is not directly or indirectly involved or related to upgrading or extending infrastructure systems primarily for the purposes of future development.
• The project is not counter to the state, or other regional growth plan or strategy.
• The proposed action is not known or expected to have potentially significant environmental impacts on the quality of the human environment either individually or cumulatively over time.
• The proposed action is not known or expected to have disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects on any community, including minority communities, low-income communities, or federally-recognized Indian tribal communities.
• The proposed action is not known or expected to significantly affect federally listed threatened or endangered species or their critical habitat.
• The proposed action is not known or expected to significantly affect national natural landmarks or any property with nationally significant historic, architectural, prehistoric, archaeological, or cultural value, including but not limited to, property listed on or eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.
• The proposed action is not known or expected to significantly affect environmentally important natural resource areas such as wetlands, floodplains, significant agricultural lands, aquifer recharge zones, coastal zones, barrier islands, wild and scenic rivers, and significant fish or wildlife habitat.
• The proposed action is not known or expected to cause significant adverse air quality effects.
• The proposed action is not known or expected to have a significant effect on the pattern and type of land use (industrial, commercial, agricultural, recreational, residential) or growth and distribution of population including altering the character of existing residential areas, or may not be consistent with state or local government, or federally-recognized Indian tribe approved land use plans or federal land management plans.
• The proposed action is not known or expected to cause significant public controversy about a potential environmental impact of the proposed action.
• The proposed action is not known or expected to be associated with providing financial assistance to a federal agency through an interagency agreement for a project that is known or expected to have potentially significant environmental impacts.
• The proposed action is not known or expected to conflict with federal, state or local government, or federally-recognized Indian tribe environmental, resource-protection, or land-use laws or regulations.

The Department of Natural Resources shall revoke the categorical exclusion and shall require a full environmental review if, subsequent to the granting of an exclusion, the State determines that:
• The proposed project no longer meets the requirements for a categorical exclusion due to changes in the proposed project; or
• New evidence reveals that serious local or environmental issues exist; or
• Federal, State, local or tribal laws are being violated.

This action is taken on the basis of a careful review of supporting information that is on file at the Iowa Department of Natural Resources’ Des Moines office. This information is available upon request. This Department will not take any administrative action on the project at least until September 5 of this year.

Persons disagreeing with the above environmental decision may submit comments to the Department during this period. Comments may be directed to Karrie Darnell at karrie.darnell@dnr.iowa.gov or 515-725-8340.
 

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