Electric line proposed under Whites Creek; hearing scheduled for Oct. 1
Public comments will be accepted for a few more days regarding Delmarva Power & Light’s request to install electric lines under Whites Creek.
Delmarva Power has requested a State of Delaware Subaqueous Lands permit to install a 16-inch diameter, 482-foot-long electric power distribution line at least 20 feet below the mudline of Whites Creek. It would stretch from Daisey Avenue to Peaceful Lane, both residential areas in Ocean View.
Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) will host a public hearing on the application on Tuesday, Oct. 1, at 6 p.m. at the South Coastal Library, 43 Kent Avenue, Bethany Beach.
DNREC contains the Division of Water, which oversees the Wetlands and Subaqueous Section’s permit requests. After the public notice was published, DNREC received several requests to hold a public hearing on this permit application.
“In an effort to maintain and enhance electric service reliability, the applicant proposes to install a 25kV electric power distribution line through a 16-inch diameter bore cavity under Whites Creek in order to create a looped circuit,” the application states. “Customers in the vicinity of the project are currently served by a radial (i.e. dead end circuit). Therefore the purpose of the new 25kV line is to create a looped circuit, which will allow electric service to feed from multiple directions in the event of an outage.”
Whites Creek is a tributary of the Indian River Bay, so the state and federal government have jurisdiction over subaqueous lands requests. The actual square footage of underwater impact is in the 600 range (not including any infrastructure on dry land).
For installation, Delmarva Power would bore westward under the creek soil. Then, a reamer would be pulled back eastward, to widen the drill bit’s initial hole.
“After the hole is reamed to 16 inches in diameter, a bundle of four 4-inch diameter conduit bundles will be pulled from the west side to the east side. Once the conduit is pulled through the hole, the electrical connections will be made on either side of the creek,” the application states.
Actual dredging or excavating would not be required.
There would be no permanent towers, poles or other structures on the subaqueous lands or wetlands. According to the permit application, state and federal wildlife agencies listed no endangered, rare or endangered species present within the project area (although they would recommend a calendar restriction to reduce impacts to certain fish and crabs). A wintertime visual survey showed no raptor nests, although migratory birds may be present.
Delmarva Power & Light of Salisbury, Md., submitted the application with consultant Sovereign Consulting of Exton, Pa.
People can learn more information in several ways:
• Attend the public hearing on Oct. 1
• View the application online at https://dnrec.alpha.delaware.gov/events/478/public-hearin-delmarva-power...
• Contact DNREC’s Patty Murray by phone at (302) 739-9378; or email Patricia.Murray@delaware.gov.
People can provide official feedback in several ways:
• Provide oral or written comments at the Oct. 1 public hearing.
• Complete and submit a form online at dnrec.alpha.delaware.gov/public-hearings/comment-form
• Email to DNRECHearingComments@delaware.gov
• Mail to Lisa A. Vest, Hearing Officer; DNREC – Office of the Secretary; 89 Kings Highway; Dover, DE 19901.
By Laura Walter
Coastal Point Staff Reporter