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Contact: Christopher J. Stubbs, 301-714-2210
Potomac, Md. - The National Park Service (NPS) has extended the deadline for the public comment period for an Environmental Assessment (EA) for the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) to September 14, 2016. The WSSC is proposing to construct an offshore submerged channel intake in the Potomac River for water supply at the Potomac Water Filtration Plant (WFP). Some components of the Potomac WFP are located within the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park (C&O Canal NHP) and therefore WSSC is seeking a construction Special Use Permit from the NPS. The park's enabling legislation recognizes the potential need for utility projects to cross the park and provides the Secretary authority to permit crossings "if such crossings are not in conflict with the purposes of the park and are in accord with any requirements found necessary to preserve park values" Public Law 91-644, Section 5 (b), 1971.
The EA provides a decision-making framework that analyzes reasonable alternatives to meet the objectives of the proposal, evaluates potential issues and impacts to resources and values, and identifies mitigation measures to lessen the degree and extent of these impacts. An Assessment of Effect (AOE) document was also prepared for compliance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) of 1966 procedures.The EA and AOE are available for review on the NPS Planning, Environment, and Public Comment (PEPC) website: https://parkplanning.nps.gov. Under "Choose a Park" click on "Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park" and follow the link to Potomac Submerged Channel Intake Environmental Assessment. Comments may be submitted electronically via the website. Written comments should be mailed to: Christopher J. Stubbs, Chief, Division of Resources Management, C&O Canal NHP 1850 Dual Highway, Suite 100, Hagerstown, MD 21740. Comments must be received by September 14, 2016.