U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Norfolk District
Published Oct. 5, 2022
Expiration date: 11/5/2022

CENAO-WRR                        October 5, 2022        

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

Iron Mountain Data Centers, LLC
Attn: Chris Guilmette
One Federal Street
Boston, MA 02110

PROJECT SIZE AND LOCATION:  The approximately 24-acre project site is located northeast of the Prince William Parkway and Sudley Manor Drive intersection and west of Bethlehem Road, in Prince William County, Virginia.  


LATITUDE AND LONGITUDE: 38.774862, -77.539184

PROJECT DESCRIPTION AND PURPOSE:  The applicant proposes to impact 1.09 acres of waters of the US, including wetlands (WOUS).  The applicant proposes the construction of a data center and associated infrastructure. Permanent impacts are proposed to 0.003 acre of palustrine emergent wetland (PEM), 1.07 acre of palustrine forested wetlands (PFO), and 0.001 acre of stream channel. Temporary impacts are proposed to 0.01 acre of PEM and 0.005 acre of stream channel. 

AVOIDANCE AND MINIMIZATION:  The applicant evaluated multiple onsite alternatives while considering the following site constraints: environmental impacts and effects; easement and set back requirements; county road location and size requirements; local parking requirements; user specific specifications and equipment requirements; and financial viability. 

No-build alternative: The applicant would incur substantial financial loss in funds already committed to site acquisition, revenue due to the loss of leasable space and the potential loss of a client due to an undeliverable product. 

The applicant considered structured parking however, this is not feasible due to county height restrictions. Multiple parking layouts were considered. The proposed design includes a reduced amount of parking and the least amount of environmental impact when comparing the four (4) alternatives. Several entrance road locations were considered; however the county requires the entrance be placed on Bethlehem Road.  Due to the odd lot layout, there is a large PFO system located on the eastern side of the parcel; therefore, the applicant placed the entrance on the south/southeastern portion of the site to reduce the permanent impact to WOUS.  Multiple guard shack layouts were considered; however the applicant’s proposed layout has the least amount of impact to WOUS.   Placement of the generators on the rooftop has been considered to minimize grading limits; however, the weight of the generators creates safety concerns that would require a substantial increase in structural materials and make the project financially infeasible. The applicant has stated that a reduction in square footage cannot be considered as this would result in the loss of rentable space and not meet the users’ requirements. Temporary impacts have been proposed where feasible and would be restored to preconstruction contours once construction has been completed. The Corps will continue to work with the applicant, through the permit review process, to ensure the project meets the least damaging practicable alternative.  

COMPENSATORY MITIGATION: The applicant proposes to compensate for the unavoidable loss to WOUS through the purchase of wetland and stream credits from a Corps approved wetland and stream bank.

In addition, the applicant must obtain an Individual Section 401 Water Quality Certification or waiver from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) assuring that applicable laws and regulations pertaining to water quality are not violated.   

A copy of the joint permit application can be found on the Virginia Marine Resources Commission’s website: 


( )     Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 (33 U.S.C. 403).

(X)    Sections 401 and 404 of the Clean Water Act (Public Law 95-217) and 
    Title 62.1 of the Code of Virginia.

( )    Section 103 of the Marine Protection, Research and Sanctuaries Act of 1972 
    (33 U.S.C. 1413).

FEDERAL EVALUATION OF APPLICATION:  The decision whether to issue a permit will be based on an evaluation of the probable impact including cumulative impacts of the proposed activity on the public interest.  The decision will reflect the national concern for both protection and utilization of important resources.  The benefits which reasonably may be expected from the proposal must be balanced against its reasonably foreseeable detriments.  All of the proposal's relevant factors will be considered, including conservation, economics, aesthetics, general environmental concerns, wetlands, cultural values, fish and wildlife values, flood hazards, flood plain values, land use, navigation, shoreline erosion and accretion, recreation, water supply and conservation, water quality, energy needs, safety, food and fiber production, mineral needs, consideration of property ownership and, in general, the needs and welfare of the people.  The Environmental Protection Agency's "Guidelines for Specification of Disposal Sites for Dredged or Fill Material" will also be applied (Section 404(b)(1) of the Clean Water Act). 

The Corps of Engineers is soliciting comments from the public, federal, state, and local agencies and officials; Indian Tribes; and other interested parties in order to consider and evaluate the direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts of this proposed activity.  Any comments received will be considered by the Corps of Engineers to determine whether to issue, modify, condition, or deny a permit for this proposal.  To make this decision, comments are used to assess impacts on endangered species, historic properties, water quality, general environmental effects, and the other public interest factors listed above.  Comments are used in the preparation of an Environmental Assessment and/or an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act.  Preliminary review of the application indicates that no EIS will be required. 

Comments are also used to determine the need for a public hearing and to determine the overall public interest of the proposed activity.  Anyone may request a public hearing to consider this permit application by writing to the District Commander within 30 days of the date of this notice, stating specific reasons for holding the public hearing.  The District Commander will then decide if a hearing should be held.

ENDANGERED SPECIES: After conducting the Norfolk District Endangered Species Act (ESA) Project Review Process, the Corps has made the preliminary determination that:

No listed/proposed/candidate species and/or designated/proposed critical habitat under the ESA of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1531-1544, 87 Stat. 884), as amended, will be affected.  Based on this “no effect” determination, no further coordination with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) or National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is required.

Additional information might change any of these findings.


Historic Resources eligible for inclusion or included in the National Register of Historic Places are in or near the Corps permit area or would likely be affected by the proposal.

Additional information may change any of these findings. 

ESSENTIAL FISH HABITAT: The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, as amended by the Sustainable Fisheries Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-267), requires all Federal agencies to consult with the NMFS on all actions, or proposed actions, permitted, funded, or undertaken by the agency, that may adversely affect Essential Fish Habitat (EFH).

There is no EFH in the Corps area of responsibility. 

VIRGINIA’S COASTAL ZONE MANAGEMENT PROGRAM: For compliance with the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972, as amended for projects located in Virginia’s Coastal Zone, the applicant must certify that federally licensed or permitted activities affecting Virginia's coastal uses or resources will be conducted in a manner consistent with the Virginia’s Coastal Zone Management Program (Virginia CZM Program), and obtain concurrence from the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), Office of Environmental Impact Review (OEIR). It is the applicant’s responsibility to submit a consistency certification to the OEIR for concurrence or objection, and proof of concurrence must be submitted to the Corps prior to final permit issuance. A template federal consistency certification can be found in the Federal Consistency Manual here:  For more information or to obtain a list of the enforceable policies of the Virginia CZM Program, contact the DEQ-OEIR at (804) 659-1915 or e-mail:

The applicant has not submitted concurrence.

VIRGINIA’S SECTION 401 WATER QUALITY CERTIFICATION PROGRAM: The applicant must obtain, from the Virginia DEQ, a Clean Water Act Section 401 Water Quality Certification for any federal license or permit that authorizes an activity that may result in a discharge into waters of the U.S. (40 CFR Part 121).  As the Certifying Authority, the Virginia DEQ may grant, grant with conditions, or deny a certification request.  Alternatively, the Virginia DEQ may waive, expressly or implicitly, its authority to act on a certification request.  In either case, a written notice of waiver from DEQ (expressly waived) or from the Corps (implicitly waived), satisfies the project proponent’s requirement to obtain certification. 

Pursuant to 33 CFR 325.2(b)(1)(i), this Public Notice serves as the Corps’ CWA § 401(a)(2) notification to the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  Pursuant to 40 CFR 121.12, the EPA shall notify the Corps, the Virginia DEQ, and the applicant, within 30 days of receipt of the application and certification, if the Regional Administrator determines that the proposed discharge may affect the quality of the waters of any neighboring jurisdiction.  

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-WRR), 803 Front Street, Norfolk, VA  23510-1011, and should be received by the close of business on November 5, 2022. 

PRIVACY AND 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
Anna Lawston via or 540-764-4459.

Project location map
Proposed impact map
Alternative 1
Alternative 2
Alternative 3