MONTPELIER — The erosion control system for a 21-turbine wind power project under construction in Lowell was damaged during a storm that dumped more than 5 inches of rain on the mountain within a few hours last month, but it held up well given the magnitude of the storm, a state report said.
There was some damage, including a blocked culvert that sent runoff pouring into unintended areas, along the construction roads that lead to the top of Lowell Mountain, where the sites for the turbines are being prepared.
“The majority of the site did hold up really well,” said Kevin Burke, a stormwater specialist with the Department of Environmental Conservation, who wrote the report after visiting Lowell Mountain after the storm. “That’s not to say there weren’t problems and there weren’t discharges.”
He said Green Mountain Power, which is building the Lowell wind project, has a discharge permit and that the utility responded appropriately when the storm caused discharges of stormwater containing sediment and silt from the construction operation.
The rain fell during a series of storms that crossed northern Vermont on May 29. Burke’s report found that 5.4 inches of rain fell on the mountain that day, most within several hours.
Burke said contractors on the mountain were out repairing the system during the storm after lightning had passed and it was safe for them to do so.
“They did experience problems, but their (erosion control plan) that we permitted was in place ... and they were able to get out there and make the repairs necessary to get ditches back and repairs to silt fences and things,” Burke said.
Green Mountain Power said the damage caused by the storm was being repaired.
GMP spokeswoman Dorothy Schnure said the utility prepares for such events. “We are aware weather patterns are changing and we need to prepare for difficult weather,” she said.
The 21-turbine, $156 million project being built on Lowell Mountain is supposed to produce enough power at any moment for 24,000 homes.
The first components of the turbines are expected to arrive within the next few weeks. The project is slated for completion late this year.MORE IN Vermont NewsSpringfield Select Board endorsed the proposed memorandum with the developers of the $170 million... Full StoryVermont State Police are still trying to determine whether a fatal shooting in Danby was an act... Full Story
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