Department of Environmental Conservation

D E C banner

ENB Region 5 Completed Applications 02/22/2017

Clinton County


New York Power Authority
123 Main St
White Plains, NY 10601


NYPA Submarine Cable Cumberland Head
Cumberland Head Substation - along bottom of Lake Champlain to Grand Isle VT
Cumberland Head Rd
Plattsburgh, NY 12901

Application ID:


Permit(s) Applied for:

Article 15 Title 5 Excavation & Fill in Navigable Waters
Section 401 - Clean Water Act Water Quality Certification

Project is Located:

Plattsburgh, Clinton County

Project Description:

The Department issued a permit to the New York Power Authority (NYPA) on July 28, 2016 for the replacement of a segment of an existing 115 kV K20 circuit that extends west-to-east between NYPA's Cumberland Head Substation in Plattsburgh, New York and Vermont Electric Power Company (VELCO)'s Grand Isle Terminal Station in Grand Isle, Vermont (known as the "PV-20 Project"). The permit authorized the removal of seven (7) existing oil-filled electrical transmission cables and the installation of four (4) new oil-free electric transmission cables which extend 1.8 miles across Lake Champlain between the two stations. The existing cables, which were installed between the late 1950's and 1970, are at the end of their expected useful service life and require replacement.

Construction activities began on the project in September 2016. Soon after the commencement of the initial Horizontal Directional Drill (HDD) activities, there were unintentional releases of drilling fluid into the Lake (inadvertent returns). In order to minimize the risk of additional inadvertent returns, the applicant is seeking to modify their existing permit by proposing the following revised construction methodologies: 1) use of alternative drilling additives; 2) use of a water lift system to suction up sediment and discharge it as sidecast material within a turbidity curtain containment area; 3) use of slightly larger temporary gravity cells to confine drilling fluids and minimize turbidity; 4) pumping of drilling fluids back to the shore; and 5) use of an alternative reaming process to further minimize the potential release of drilling fluids. The applicant has also proposed several minor modifications to the proposed cable alignment based on the installation means and methods and interpretation of the actual site conditions - all of which will be within the existing project area limits.

The existing permit authorized a total of 14,100 square feet of temporary disturbance to the lake bed in New York waters. With the modified construction methodology, temporary impacts are estimated to be approximately 58,240 square feet in New York waters.

Availability of Application Documents:

Filed application documents, and Department draft permits where applicable, are available for inspection during normal business hours at the address of the contact person. To ensure timely service at the time of inspection, it is recommended that an appointment be made with the contact person.

State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) Determination:

Project is a Type I action and will not have a significant effect on the environment. A coordinated review with other agencies was performed and a Negative Declaration is on file.

SEQR Lead Agency: New York Power Authority

State Historic Preservation Act (SHPA) Determination:

A cultural resources survey has been completed and cultural resources were identified. Based on information provided in the survey report, the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) has determined that the proposed activity will have no adverse impact on registered or eligible archaeological sites or historic structures. No further review in accordance with SHPA is required.

Coastal Management:

This project is not located in a Coastal Management area and is not subject to the Waterfront Revitalization and Coastal Resources Act.

Opportunity for Public Comment:

Comments on this project must be submitted in writing to the Contact Person no later than Mar 09, 2017.


Karen M Gaidasz
NYSDEC Headquarters
625 Broadway
Albany, NY 12233

  • Contact for this Page
  • ENB
    Division of Environmental Permits
    625 Broadway, 4th Floor
    Albany, NY 12233-1750
    Send us an email
  • This Page Covers
  • Page applies to all NYS regions