work underway on a water-discharge structure we designed for poor soil conditions
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environmental services for transmission-line construction

environmental services for transmission-line construction
Xcel Energy
Minnesota and North Dakota

infrastructure improved to meet future energy needs

CapX2020, a joint initiative of 11 transmission-owning utilities in Minnesota and the surrounding region, was formed to expand the power grid and help ensure continued reliable and affordable electricity. Barr has worked on three of the five transmission lines that make up the CapX system, including a line constructed by Xcel Energy that stretches from Fargo, North Dakota, to Monticello, Minnesota. Our services on this segment included overall management of the construction environmental-control plan, as well as preparation of a stormwater pollution-prevention plan (SWPPP) and applications for water-appropriations and construction-stormwater permits.

Barr developed protocols for SWPPP implementation, permitting, organic-farm review, pavement assessment, vegetation clearing and management, pollution prevention, work near wetlands and in public waters, work on steep slopes and highly erodible soils, and work near impaired waters. We also created best management practices and forms for conducting inspections, maintaining compliance with permit requirements, and protecting waters of the state adjacent to the construction area.

Barr created two new tools for this construction oversight. The first tool is an electronic database and reporting system that allows access to real-time information via a secure website. The system houses all inspection forms and instructions for correcting accidental environmental infractions, and enables instant report generation.

The second tool is an online mapping system using ArcGIS on a tablet computer. For each of more than 1,300 transmission poles, Barr prepared site information, which construction crews used during work activity. Field staff carry tablets on which they can view a satellite image superimposed with comprehensive site data—pole location, site access locations, wetland boundaries, mitigation measures—and make updates that are instantaneously available to all system users. The system, which stores, organizes, and links thousands of documents, transfers information quickly and was easily accessible to Xcel, the multiple parties involved in construction, and regulators.

The Fargo-to-Monticello line began delivering electricity in May 2015.