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City of Frankenmuth Water Main Replacement

Posted: 3/16/2016

Expiration date: 4/12/2016



The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Detroit District, is evaluating a request from the City of Frankenmuth, Saginaw County, Michigan, to replace their damaged water main that crosses under the Cass River and the USACE’s flood risk management project levee located on the north bank of the Cass River, adjacent to Main Street.  This evaluation is being conducted per the USACE Engineering Circular 1165-2-216, Policy and Procedural Guidance for Processing Requests to Alter U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Civil Works Projects pursuant to 33 USC 408. 31 July 2014.  The purpose of this notice is to coordinate the evaluation of the proposed work pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act, the National Historic Preservation Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Water Act, and other applicable legislation.

 Two project alternatives were considered: 1) No Action and 2) Replacement of the water main.  Alternative 1 is the baseline for evaluating the proposed work and will not be implemented.  Alternative 2 is the selected alternative and consists of excavation for access pits, directionally drill and install approximately 690 feet of 10" diameter high density polyethylene pipe (HDPE) at approximately 13 feet vertical depth below the river bed of the Cass River and passing under the USACE levee.  The proposed project begins approximately 150 south of the south river bank adjacent to Plant Street, and extends under the Cass River to an end point approximately 150 feet north of the northern river bank, between Main and Mill Street (Figures 1, 2).  The work areas are approximately 40 feet by 40 feet at the beginning point and 30 feet by 40 feet at the end point. 

 Approximately 30 cubic yards (CYD) of material will be displaced during drilling activities and excavation will occur within the upland work areas to connect the replacement main with the existing water distribution system. Two CYD of material will be removed from beneath the USACE flood control levee.  The work area entrance and exit locations will occur in areas of previous ground disturbance from the original water line installation and consist of mowed grass and adjacent pavement.  The ground elevation will be restored and existing cover types will be replaced after the work is completed.  The lawn areas provide habitat for some small mammals that inhabit the downtown area, such as squirrels and mice, but these animals would avoid the area during construction. 

 There would be minor air emissions from construction equipment; these emissions are exempted as de minimis (Latin for ‘of minimal importance’) and meet the Conformity Requirements under Section 176(c) of the Clean Air Act, as amended, and 40 C.F.R. 93.153.   No work will occur in the waters of the Cass River, there are no wetlands in the construction area, and there will be no change to the ground surface elevation; therefore, there will be no effects on wetlands, aquatic sites, fish or the floodplain.  The work is within the city and would not result in any significant impacts on aesthetics, recreation, or minorities.  No agricultural lands would be impacted.  Any waste materials generated during construction would be disposed consistent with state and Federal disposal requirements.  The project would not impact climate change. 

 The water main replacement will not affect any of the five Federally listed species for Saginaw County[1] as the habitat is not present except for the nearby trees potentially could be used by bats.  No trees are expected to be cut for this project.  In event a tree requires removal, it will be removed during the winter months.  Therefore, the project would have no effect on Federally listed species. 

 On February 23, 2016, The USCE conducted a review of the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) listed properties in or near the projects area of potential affect.  No listed properties were found.  Therefore, the USACE has determined that there will be no historic properties affected by the proposed project.  The project is being reviewed by the State Historic Preservation Office and Federally recognized tribes.

 Based on the above evaluation, the USACE has preliminarily determined that the integrity of the Federal levee would not be adversely affected by implementing the proposed water main replacement project.  No significant short term, long term, or cumulative effects would result from installation of the replacement water main.

 Following the comment period and a review of the comments received, the District Engineer will make a final decision regarding the Section 408 approval of the water main replacement project proposed by the City of Frankenmuth.  Based on the preliminary USACE evaluation of the impacts to the Federal levee system and the environmental review of the impacts from the proposed work, it appears that Section 408 approval will be provided to the city for the upgrades outlined in the Main Street River Crossing Preliminary Plans dated January 2016 and that preparation of an environmental assessment will not be required.

 Any person who has a historical or cultural interest that may be affected by the proposed water main replacement project may submit written comments within 30 days of the date of this notice. The comments must clearly set for what historical or cultural interest may be affected by this activity.  Please direct your comments to: ATTN: CELRE-PL-E (Charles A. Uhlarik) at U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District, 477 Michigan Avenue, Detroit, Michigan 48226.   We will take into consideration all comments and provide responses as applicable. 

             [1]   Online listing as of February 2016: Indiana bat (endangered), Northern long-eared bat (threatened), rufa red knot

             (threatened), Eastern massasauga (proposed as threatened), Eastern prairie fringed orchid (threatened).