CSC: Montville Docket No. 201 Opinion

DOCKET NO. 201 - Mohegan Tribal Utility Authority application for a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need for the construction, maintenance, and operation of a 115 kV electric substation located west of an existing 115 kV transmission line right-of-way, north of Woodland Drive, and east of Interstate Route 395, in Montville, Connecticut. }

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Connecticut

Siting

Council

April 26, 2001

Opinion

On December 19, 2000, the Mohegan Tribal Utility Authority of Mohegan Tribes of Indians of Connecticut (MTUA) applied to the Connecticut Siting Council for a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need (Certificate) for the construction, operation and maintenance of a 115-kV electric substation located west of an existing Connecticut Light and Power Company (CL&P) 115-kV electric transmission line and north of Woodland Drive in the Town of Montville, Connecticut.  The Council held a field review and public hearing on the proposed Fort Hill Substation on February 15, 2001.

The proposed substation would convert 115-kV electric power to 34.5 kV for use at the MTUA reservation including the Mohegan Sun Resort facility owned by the MTUA.  A new underground cable would connect the proposed Fort Hill Substation to the existing MTUA Crow Hill Substation, adjacent to the Mohegan Sun Resort along a public right-of-way.  The economic activity associated with the Mohegan Resort and other MTUA activities is significant and enjoyed by the tribal authority, adjacent communities, and the entire State.  This activity, while welcomed by the business community, has come quickly and somewhat unexpectedly.  The consequence of this rapid development is the need for supporting services and infrastructure, such as the facility before us in this application.  In simple terms, the benefits will not come without some costs.  However, in this case, we believe that MTUA has clearly justified the need, selected an appropriate site, and propose to use mitigation measures to reduce unavoidable potential environmental effects associated with site clearing, visibility, lighting, noise, and magnetic fields.

The proposed substation site has already been cleared and is now being used as a site for fill.  The proposed site contains no wetlands, no species which are of endangered, threatened or special concern status, and has no prehistoric or cultural resources.

Visibility of the proposed substation equipment from nearby residences is not expected to be significant, but will be further mitigated by landscaping, the planting of evergreens for screening, and the use of black mesh fencing to reduce the visibility of substation equipment.

Lighting of a substation could be an annoyance to nearby residences.  However, the lighting fixtures of this substation will be directed inward toward substation equipment and away from nearby residents.

Sound levels from the proposed substation equipment at the site's fence lines are expected to be low due to distance to homes and the installation of vegetative screening.  Nonetheless, the Council will require both pre-and post-construction noise measurements with appropriate mitigation as required.

Electric and magnetic fields (EMF) and their possible effects are a concern to both the Council and to citizens living in the vicinity of substations and electric transmission lines.  Magnetic field levels will be minimized by the use of compact substation structures and distance to the perimeter fence line.  Measurements recently performed at various locations around the proposed site yielded low magnetic field levels.  The MTUA will use the same locations to perform future magnetic field measurements at various stages of equipment installation.  The State of Connecticut has not established standards for exposure to electric and /or magnetic fields and there is no evidence for the Council to conclude the proposed substation and transmission line connection would be hazardous to persons or property near the proposed facility.  However, we will order that the proposed facility be brought into compliance with any future State or federal standard, should such a standard be adopted.

Based on the record in this proceeding, the Council finds that the effects associated with the construction, operation and maintenance of the proposed Fort Hill Substation and interconnecting transmission line, including effects on the natural environment; ecological integrity and balance; forests and parks; scenic, historic, and recreational values, air and water purity; fish and wildlife; and public health and safety are not disproportionate either above or cumulatively with other effects when compared to need, are not in conflict with the policies of the State concerning such effects, and are not sufficient reason to deny the application.

Therefore, the Council will issue a Certificate for the construction, operation, and maintenance of the proposed Fort Hill Substation and transmission line connection.  In view of the fact that the proposed site has already been cleared, the applicant may begin site preparation for construction immediately.  To ensure that the facility interconnection with existing transmission lines is properly installed, we will require the MTUA to submit a detailed Development and Management Plan after consulting CL&P.  The Development and Management Plan will also include a final site plan showing the placement of all substation and interconnection equipment; provisions for storm water management and oil containment; provisions for noise monitoring and testing; and the placement of proper erosion and sediment controls installed in accordance with the Connecticut Guidelines for Soil Erosion and Sediment Control, as amended.  The Council will also require provisions for EMF measurement, and compliance with any future EMF standards promulgated by State or federal regulatory agencies.



Content Last Modified on 10/9/2002 11:54:59 AM