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What is the definition of “temporary” in terms of years?
Who decides what a reasonable alternative is, what makes an alternative qualify as “reasonable” and to whom is the alternative deemed reasonable?
CEQA requires that an EIR include a detailed analysis of a range of reasonable alternatives to a proposed project. CEQA requires that an EIR evaluate alternatives to the proposed project that are potentially feasible and would attain most of the basic project objectives while avoiding or substantially lessening the project’s potential impacts. Likewise, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires that a range of reasonable alternatives that meet the purpose and need statement of the action be analyzed at an equivalent level of detail in an environmental impact statement (EIS). Generally, a range of reasonable alternatives is analyzed to define the issues and provide a clear basis for choice among the options.
CEQA requires that the lead agency consider alternatives that would avoid or substantially lessen any of the significant impacts of the proposed project. However, numerous alternatives that have slight variations are not necessarily required. The lead agency determines the alternatives to be analyzed in detail in an EIR. Section 15126.6[a] of the state CEQA Guidelines provides that:
[a]n EIR shall describe a range of reasonable alternatives to the project, or to the location of the project, which would feasibly attain most of the basic objectives of the project but would avoid or substantially lessen any of the significant effects of the project, and evaluate the comparative merits of the alternatives. An EIR need not consider every conceivable alternative to a project. Rather it must consider a reasonable range of potentially feasible alternatives that will foster informed decision making and public participation. An EIR is not required to consider alternatives which are infeasible. The lead agency is responsible for selecting a range of project alternatives for examination and must publicly disclose its reasoning for selecting those alternatives. There is no ironclad rule governing the nature or scope of the alternatives to be discussed other than the rule of reason.
The Council on Environmental Quality’s (CEQ) NEPA regulations states that the lead agency in an EIS shall “rigorously explore and objectively evaluate all reasonable alternatives, and for alternatives which were eliminated from detailed study, briefly discuss the reasons for their having been eliminated. Devote substantial treatment to each alternative considered in detail including the proposed action so that reviewers may evaluate their comparative merits. Include reasonable alternatives not within the jurisdiction of the lead agency” (CEQ NEPA Regulations 40 CFR 1502.114). In addition, CEQ has issued guidance on alternatives, stating, “For some proposals there may exist a very large or even an infinite number of possible reasonable alternatives…When there are potentially a very large number of alternatives, only a reasonable number of examples, covering the full spectrum of alternatives, must be analyzed and compared in the EIS…What constitutes a reasonable range of alternatives depends on the nature of the proposal and the facts in each case.” (See Council on Environmental Quality’s Forty Most Asked Questions Concerning CEQ’s National Environmental Policy Act Regulations; 2(a).)
Under these principles, the EIR (and EIS) needs to describe and evaluate only those alternatives necessary to permit a reasonable choice and “to foster meaningful public participation and informed decision making” (State CEQA Guidelines Section 15126.6[f]). The EIR scoping process is used by the lead agency to gather input on alternatives to the proposed project. Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the CEQA lead agency to determine a reasonable range of alternatives to a proposed project for analysis in the EIR.
What are DWR plans for levee maintenance in regards to the intakes and flood protection?
Do the conveyor belts go across the island?
Regarding pile drivers: How many sites, are they all at once, how close, duration?
What are the specifics of the tunneling process, machinery used, material derived and its treatment?
Is there siting information available for burrow pits?
How will the new levee affect the other Delta levees?
It was mentioned that there would be new barge routing and landing “overlay maps.” Do you know if they are available yet for either the proposed eastern route or the westerly (original route)?
What construction is going to be happening simultaneously throughout the whole project?
Will the other levees across from the proposed intake sites need to be raised, widened, etc.?
What will be the impact of dewatering and excavation on aquifers?
What is seepage when tunnel segments are put together?
How many tons of concrete will be poured on the launch shaft site pads?
When peat dirt is displaced, what mitigation efforts will be made to make sure the peat doesn’t increase the asthma problems in the Delta?
Do you plan to rehabilitate the levees at launch sites and to what level in order to protect construction operations?
Are there going to be activities such as dewatering, power lines or pipelines between the launch shafts in addition to construction of the launch shaft sites?
How many miles are between the Eastern Corridor’s Launch Site B to the Port of Stockton?
Has there been any analysis on how far away the top end of Launch Site B is from urban housing to the east and north?
Will conveyor belts be moving RTM across farmland to the drying areas?
Is the build still anticipated to take 13 years?
What is the anticipated labor load for each shift and the plan for caring for and feeding of those individuals?
How close is this construction to residential areas?
How will pockets of gas and water be avoided during tunneling?
What happens if you accidentally pierce a pocket of gas, oil or water during tunneling?
How are the tunnels ventilated?
How does tunneling operate in regards to potential for seismic issues due to the tunneling and the motion of the drives?
New FAQ : QuestionHow does tunneling work in an unconsolidated soil type?
What is the seismic vulnerability of the tunnel itself?
How is the lining of the tunnel rated on seismic strength?
Can members have a list of soil conditioners considered for use? What is the composition of soil conditioners?
The ITR report notes there are no active fault crossings in the Delta conveyance alignment and that seismic demands are not extreme compared to other projects, and DCA indicated it agreed on that statement. Why are we building tunnels if seismic issues are not a concern?
Would tunnel segments still be lowered into the tunnel from launch shafts even if there was a maintenance shaft available?
What is the power source for the tunnel cutter head?
The Delta Conveyance program facilities, including tunnel shafts that are currently proposed to remain following construction, would be constructed at elevations greater than the 200-year flood event and projected sea level rise at year 2100 with considerations for freeboard and wind fetch waves.
If heavy concrete is put on top of these soils, how will the sites be stable?
Are the maintenance and retrieval shafts being kept or filled after construction of the project?
What flood standard is being used to determine the height of the shaft pads compared to what DWR has analyzed in the fourth climate change assessment for storm surge and downstream flood risk?
The ITR report sought to determine if CEQA could have an approach for the unknowns. How can that comment be assimilated? The Big Bertha TBM used on the Alaska Way Viaduct got stuck 1,000 feet into the tunnel drive. How is that type of possibility going to be addressed from the engineering point of view?
Why all of this for one region?
Where will water pumped in the dewatering process go?
How will you overcome the challenge of not disrupting reclamation districts’ routine levee maintenance during periods of high flood? How will we mitigate for the required seasonal and annual inspections to ensure reclamation districts are able to keep the community safe?
Is there is a document that compares WaterFix to the new proposed project and highlights the key differences from the administration’s perspective and why those changes are being made?
How much peat dirt will be displaced in the process of excavating?
How many launch shaft pads are being proposed?
Has a tunneling project with this magnitude, soil condition, length, etc. ever been performed anywhere?
What is the fish screen noise in decibels?
Will acousticians conduct on-the-ground surveys in the actual Delta?
How much noise will be produced by the shaft boring process?
Can we add to Map 8: historical sites, cultural resources and Indian burial grounds?
Is there a map reflecting the history of settlement of Native peoples?
What is the process in place for any undocumented cultural sites that might be discovered during construction?
Can members have a detailed map identifying groundwater and aquifers in the Delta?
Will there be real-time disclosure of existing issues discovered during soil testing or field work?
If any hazardous materials or other environmental hazards are encountered during the field work, property owners will be notified, and notification of federal, state and local agencies in accordance with applicable laws and policies will be coordinated with the property owners.”
Are you going to coordinate markers on each soil collection point so levee impacts can be tracked by RDs?
Will you be identifying and protecting native plant species around the Clifton Court Forebay used for tribal medicinal practices?
What possible impact will the project have on the Park District’s several properties in the South-Central Delta that are under irrigation leases?
Can members have access to the recent geotechnical data collected?
What are the calculations on the volume of sediment for these flows and for high water events?
Is there any correlation with outside bends and in-migration and out-migration of fish?
Can SEC members get answers to questions about the river bends from fish biologists, since there is a difference of opinion within the fish biology community?
Will the impact analysis of the fish screen brushing on the food web be performed to a microscopic level?
Is there any consideration given to any type of unexpected wildlife that gets stuck in the sedimentation basin, such as monitoring of eggs?
How will this facility be ensured to not kill Delta smelt, as has been reported to be happening at Clifton Court Forebay?
Is it possible to incorporate a riparian zone into the design of an intake facility, and would that be easier with the cylindrical tee screen or vertical flat plate type?
Will there be real-time disclosure with water quality issues found during construction?
Will there be some information provided to the committee regarding hydraulic impacts such as water surface elevations and velocity?
Why were Southern California reservoirs full when Northern California reservoirs were empty during the last drought?
My concerns include water quality, water levels rising and falling and how that will affect fish and plants.
What effect will restoration plans and mitigation plans have on state parks?
Can you provide information about harmful algal blooms?
DWR’s boring data should be released to SEC members without a PRA.
How far upstream and downstream will the levees be affected and what kind of mitigation will be used? How do changes to the East Bank affect the West Bank, and what kind of mitigation will be used?
Will the dewatering process create odors?
What can be done with soil to create habitat projects due to legacy mercury?
Do soil conditioners aggravate the methylenation of mercury?
What is air pollution from truck traffic and cement construction?
Do soil conditioners need to be removed from the soil before it is reused?
How is the safety of the soil determined?
What is done with saltwater that is brought to the surface?
Is RTM subject to waste discharge requirements?
Will the SEC members receive information about the soil and water testing program once it has been determined?
How frequently will HAB data be reported, and how accessible will it be to the public?
If the top of the tunnel is about 100 feet below the surface, will these depths still be in the range of human habitation considering the deposition of the Delta over the years and sea level rise?
What is the subsidence potential for hitting various unknowns such as sand lenses?
Where are the alternatives that are being suggested in scoping meetings?
Heritage would be an important factor to add to the siting ranking criteria. In one of the previous meetings a comment was made about staying out of environmental considerations. How can at least some high-level aspects of environmental considerations be completely disregarded in the ranking of potential sites?
The EIR will describe impacts to the physical, biological and human environment, including considerations for heritage uses, related to construction and operation of the proposed project and the alternatives as part of the EIR. This comment is related to the scope of DWR’s EIR; please consider submitting this comment through DWR’s CEQA scoping process.”
How long would it take a salmon fry to move past ¼ mile of intakes and how many times would that fry have to swim back out of the flow? Is it possible that the outgoing tide at the lower end of the screen will be full of dead fish that didn’t have the stamina to continue swimming for the entire length of the intake, and how has that been factored into the design?
How does the project team know about the soil composition at the depths of the tunnel, which is over 100 feet below the surface?
Additional geotechnical information would be collected prior to the completion of design. If peat soils occurred at depths considered for the tunnel, the design would be modified to lower the tunnel to competent soils below the peat soils.”
Regarding flow at the intake: At the last meeting someone asked about negative or reverse flow in the river at the intake. There was an instant response of, “No, never negative,” but I wonder what that looks like at high or low tide. That is a big issue out here, and I personally would like to understand those flows at the intake during the complete tide cycle, i.e., top, bottom, half tide rising (flooding), half tide falling (ebbing). At full “take” what are the flows just above, just below and going out of the system? I assume that just below there is always a positive downstream cfs there even when it is peak flooding. Specific numbers like that would help. It would probably be good to measure during the driest drought time, low river flow. If we can get those flows, I can put stuff like that to bed when talking with people.
The project would divert water until the tidal flow in the river approaches a preset minimum outward flow rate (i.e., towards the ocean). The diversion rate would be reduced proportional to the reduction in the outward river flow rate as the tide comes in. At some preset minimum outward river flow rate, diversions would be stopped by closure of the intakes. In summary, the project would only divert at the maximum capacity when the river flow rate exceeds a specific high preset outward flow rate. The diversion rate would be reduced in steps as the outgoing river flow rate declines and would stop completely if the outward river flow rate reaches the preset minimum rate prior to a dominant incoming tidal flow rate.
Flow histograms illustrating the river and diversion flow rates across tidal cycles will be generated from an extensive modeling process as part of the preparation of the EIR.
What constitutes a recreational facility in terms of representing sensitive receptors?
The database has been updated, and a map including public schools, hospitals, fire stations and local law enforcement was developed to represent sensitive receptors. It was presented at the February 26, 2020, Stakeholder Engagement Committee meeting. A separate map with publicly available marinas, boat launches, refuges and habitat preserves has been completed and was presented at the February 26, 2020, Stakeholder Engagement Committee meeting.
Is there a map reflecting existing water infrastructure and facilities such as intakes, diversion works and conveyance facilities?
Would it be possible for the upcoming packet to get a map with the alignment for the tunnel that has the following? 1) Highways, railroads — any major infrastructure that is easy to label. It needs a few more markers for users. 2) A legend for miles. 3) Names of the islands through which it passes and refuges — public boat launches if time permits. My request is for readability.
Can we have the GPS coordinates of the three favorable intake sites?
Is there a possibility that the geotechnical reports DWR is currently conducting could change where the intakes are located?
How will this facility be kept operational once it is constructed considering the amount of dewatering that needs to occur?
Will the sediment basin be lined and, if not, will the basins be in groundwater from 4 or 5 feet below existing ground level and below? Does DCA expect the slurry walls to keep them out of the groundwater?
Will there be discussion about the flow capacity used, and will it be pressurized or not pressurized?
Is the corridor that was proposed through the Deep Water Ship Channel with an intake near Rio Vista still a possibility?
How much water is being pulled out and from where?
Have there ever been three intakes of a similar size using tee screens within the same proximity on the same river?
Would construction of the maintenance and reception shafts use the same staging areas (e.g., parking lots, roads, etc.) as the launch shafts?
Are the safe haven shafts included as part of the planned components, or are they only created in case of emergency?
In order to provide adequate comments on any questionnaires or proposed siting, we need actual maps and coordinates. Stakeholders primarily want to know if it the project comes through their property.
Are the launch shafts about 100 acres?
Are the maintenance and retrieval shafts about 10 acres?
Can you provide clarification about how DWR will reflect and characterize SEC participation in the EIR?
It would be important to put the ITR into context, including how the ITR is the opinion of one group of people.
Is there an option to have more intakes with a smaller capacity?
How will first responders be informed of all the construction and be able to respond to emergencies that occur in the tunnel?
Is the project subject to the jurisdiction of the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA)?
The proposed project is a 40-foot diameter TBM that is tunneling 40 miles. There may be four TBMs, but the process is the same. What happens if the TBM gets stuck? What about safety in the tunnels?
Can you provide the truck trip estimates for operational traffic for hauling away sediment?
Can the informational materials please represent barge and rail trips as round trips?
Is it feasible to use barges at all, since opening the bridges stops the traffic in both directions?
Is new rail siding needed on existing rail lines if rail is used, or will DCA build a spur to the launch sites?
Does the slide showing truck trips per day reflect the number for one shaft or for multiple shafts? Are all of the shafts constructed simultaneously or is their construction staggered?
Has DCA determined if these trestle bridges would be a hazard for either the trains or the workers in the dig areas? Will the TBM be tunneling under the bridges?
Where would barges be parked at nights and on weekends?