Published Dec. 14, 2017
Expiration date: 1/16/2018

The District Commander has received a joint application for Federal and State permits as described below:

City of Norfolk, Department of Utilities
400 Granby Street
Norfolk, Virginia 23510

WATERWAY AND LOCATION OF THE PROPOSED WORK: The project is located in the Nansemond River, roughly 2,000 feet north of Dumpling Island and will extend from the river’s east bank to the west bank, in Suffolk, Virginia. A vicinity map is attached.

PROPOSED PROJECT: The City of Norfolk (City) proposes installation of a new 42inch diameter steel raw water main across the Nansemond River north of Dumpling Island and its confluence with Oyster House Creek, located between the two existing 42inch raw water mains. The new water main will be installed using horizontal directional drilling (HDD) techniques, at a depth of 30 feet below the navigable channel bottom. Entry and exit points for drilling operations will be located in upland areas on either side of the water body.   

PROJECT PURPOSE AND NEED: The City owns and operates two (2) 42inch raw water transmission mains across the Nansemond River which were installed in 1982 and 1996 respectively. These mains are interconnected to parallel 30inch and 36inch raw water mains which were installed in the early 1920s. Through these mains, raw water is pumped from the Western Branch Pumping Station in Suffolk to the 37th Street Water Treatment Plant in Norfolk, where it is processed and then distributed through the public water supply system. Currently, only one of the raw water mains beneath the Nansemond River is operational, as the other failed at its river crossing location, and its operation was terminated. The City indicates the failure of the second water main greatly increases system vulnerability by relying on a single source main, and may prove to be ineffective in supplying raw water to the 37th Street Water Treatment Plant in order to meet water demands during peak usage.  

AUTHORITY: Permits are required pursuant to Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 (33 U.S.C. 403). The Corps must comply with the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) (54 U.S.C. § 306108), 36 CFR Part 800, regulations implementing Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act and 33 CFR Part 325, Appendix C, Processing of Department of the Army Permits.

PURPOSE OF PUBLIC NOTICE: In compliance with regulations implementing Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), the Norfolk District is soliciting comments on the proposed project from the public; Federal, state, and local agencies and officials; Native American Tribes; and other interested parties. This public notice provides an opportunity for members of the public to express their views on the undertaking’s effects on historic properties and resolution of adverse effects. Comments are requested to assist in evaluation of the effects of the project on historic properties and evaluation of alternatives or modifications which could avoid, minimize or mitigate adverse effects on historic properties.

Historic Property Identification:  Identification of historic properties have previously been conducted within the permit area.  The designated limits of disturbance coincide with archaeological site 44SK0011, a large Late Woodland/Protohistoric Period Native American resource recorded with the Virginia Department of Historic Resources (VDHR). In 1996, the James River Institute for Archaeology, Inc. (JRIA) conducted a Phase II archaeological evaluation of Site 44SK011.  JRIA subsequently conducted the archaeological data recovery efforts in 19971998 within the areas of disturbance for a previous directional drill water main.  As a result of the data recovery in 1997-1998, JRIA identified and excavated two Native American human burial features, 279 prehistoric longhouse postholes, and 11 other prehistoric features, including hearths and other small pit features. JRIA also identified a substantial midden layer which did not appear to have been disturbed by plowing, as well as an earlier prehistoric horizon that predated the Late Woodland/Protohistoric component.

ALTERNATE ALIGNMENTS: The existing alignments were previously positioned at a narrow point along the Nansemond River to: minimize the length of the water body crossing; minimize impacts and disturbances; and, minimize the length of pipe below the water body which is inaccessible for operations and maintenance efforts.  Due to the location of the existing mains and the required points of interconnection, the City has indicated that there are no alternate alignment options. Alternate alignments which divert away from the existing raw water mains can substantially increase disturbances to the surrounding area, and create areas of new disturbance. Limiting work to areas of prior disturbance aids to minimize impacts.

PROPOSED IMPACTS TO HISTORIC PROPERITES: Across a portion of the site, areas of disturbance will coincide with areas of previous disturbance as part of early1920s pipe installations. The surface area contained within the limits of silt fence shown on the plans equates to approximately 40,800 square feet (0.937 acres). Equipment shall be placed on heavy duty composite matting to prevent and/or minimize disturbances to the surface and rutting within the plow zone. Therefore, surface disturbances within the limits of silt fence are anticipated to be of no adverse effect.  However, areas of new subsurface disturbance within Site 44SK0011 will result from 10foot wide opencut trenches for the purposes of installing approximately 93 linear feet of new raw water main and its interconnections to the directionally drilled raw water mains. New impacts to undisturbed portions of Site 44SK011 not previously mitigated through Phase III archaeological data recovery are proposed to be investigated by Phase III archaeological data recovery equate to approximately 1,780 square feet (0.041 acres), with the bottom of trench ranging from six (6) to ten (10) feet below the ground surface. This estimated disturbance includes excavations pipe installation, as well as the receiving pit associated with the HDD.  Because these anticipated areas of subsurface disturbance within Site 44SK011 are in close proximity to the previous area of archaeological data recovery, it would be reasonable to assume that the same type and quantity of prehistoric Native American features, possibly including additional human burials, will likely be encountered.

ADVERSE EFFECT DETERMINATION: In consultation with the SHPO, and in consideration of views concerning effects provided by consulting parties, the USACE has applied the criteria of adverse effect to historic properties within the permit area. An adverse effect on archeological site 44SK0011 has been found for the project. The USACE is consulting further to develop and evaluate alternatives or modifications to the undertaking that could avoid, minimize, or mitigate adverse effects on historic properties. The US Army Corps of Engineers (Norfolk District), Virginia Department of Historic Resources, the City and other consulting parties are proposing to enter into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act.  

COMMENT PERIOD:  Comments on this project should be in writing and can be sent by either email to, or by regular mail, addressed to the Norfolk District, Corps of Engineers (ATTN:  CENAO-WR-R), 803 Front Street, Norfolk, Virginia  23510-1011, and should be received by the close of business on January 16, 2018.

PRIVACY & CONFIDENTIALITY: Comments and information, including the identity of the submitter, submitted in response to this Public Notice may be disclosed, reproduced, and distributed at the discretion of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  Information that is submitted in connection with this Public Notice cannot be maintained as confidential by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Submissions should not include any information that the submitter seeks to preserve as confidential.  

If you have any questions about this project or the permit process, contact:

Audrey Cotnoir at 757-549-8819 or by email