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Q 3 - Full EAF (Part 2) Surface Water

Full Environmental Assessment Form (FEAF) Workbook

The proposed action may affect one or more wetlands or other surface waterbodies (e.g., streams, rivers, ponds or lakes).

a lake and shoreline lined with bare brush and dry grass
Upper and Lower Lakes
Wildlife Management Area
St. Lawrence County, New York

This question asks the reviewing agency to evaluate the potential impacts to any wetland or other surface waterbody including streams, rivers, ponds, and lakes. Actions would include activities that disturb the land such as removing vegetation; increasing or decreasing the size of a waterbody; creating new water bodies; and grading, clearing, filling, or excavating within or adjoining a waterbody. It also includes activities that would cause erosion, withdraw water, discharge wastes into the waterbody, or degrade water quality.

To answer this question

Review Part 1 questions D.2., E.1.b., and E.2.h.

If the proposed project site has no wetlands or other surface water bodies, or is an action that would not affect any waterbodies that may be present, then check 'No' and move on to question 4. If the project site contains wetlands or other surface waterbodies and the proposed action could affect the resource in some way, check 'Yes' and answer sub-questions (a) through (l).

Sub-questions (a) through (h) are similar in that they are all oriented to help the reviewing agency evaluate impacts on surface waterbodies. The actions explored in these questions cover activities that have the potential to adversely impact water quality and water ecosystems. Of prime concern are those actions that cause a loss of vegetation and wildlife habitat, erosion and sedimentation which degrades water quality and aquatic habitats, changes to the character of an area, changes in downstream water quality and ecology, or fragmentation of river and stream systems. Some actions can result in the trapping of nutrients and sediments that alters downstream ecosystems. Changes to surface water bodies can also change the water table, which could make water less accessible to plant roots and drinking water wells.

Identifying potential impacts

The reviewing agency should evaluate the following sub-questions and decide if there will be any impact. If there will be an impact, the reviewing agency must then evaluate the magnitude of that impact, and decide if the impact will be small or moderate to large. This will depend on the overall scale and context of the proposed project as described in the Introduction to Part 2. The reviewing agency should be reasonable when conducting this review.

  • If the proposed project exceeds a numeric threshold in a question, it is presumed to be a moderate to large impact.
  • If the proposed project does not exceed a numeric threshold in a question, the reviewing agency should consider the scale and context of the project in determining if an impact may be small or moderate to large.
  • These sub-questions are not meant to be exhaustive. The reviewing agency should use the "Other impacts:" sub-question to include any additional elements they feel need to be analyzed for potential impacts.

a. The proposed action may create a new water body.

b. The proposed action may result in an increase or decrease of over 10% or more than a 10 acre increase or decrease in the surface area of any body of water.

New water bodies can be created by damming streams and rivers, channeling water from wetlands, or even from surface runoff, by grading and land shaping activities that create new basins for water to collect in. Some new water bodies use groundwater sources such as springs. Creation of ponds, lakes, and reservoirs, or other land alterations that create new waterbodies are all activities that could have impacts.

Increasing or decreasing the surface area of waterbodies by over 10% or more than 10 acres mean it is more likely that adverse impacts to water quantity or quality, aquatic ecosystems, and downstream or upstream locations could occur. A change to the surface area of any body of water likely means that land disturbances or alterations of existing water flow are taking place. Physical changes to the land can occur with dredging, excavation, land filling, vegetation removal, or even changing streams or channel locations to feed or remove water sources. Applicants will need to provide measurements showing the percent or acreage of the surface waterbody to be increased or decreased.

Applicable Part 1 Information

D.1.b., D.1.h., D.2.a., D.2.b., D.2.e., E.1.b., E.1.e., E.2.d., E.2.h., E.2.i., E.2.j., and E.2.k.

Analysis

  • What is the purpose of the activity and how will it be carried out?
    • What structures will be built to contain the water?
    • How large will the new water body be?
  • What impacts may occur as a result of construction?
    • What natural habitats may be removed or flooded?
  • After construction, what other resources including fish and wildlife, water supplies, changes to water chemistry, or changes upstream or downstream will result?
  • What source of water will be used or changed, and does using that water affect other existing needs and uses of that water?
    • Will it affect other surface water bodies?
  • Does the proposed activity occur in a floodplain or floodway, and if so, does it affect the functioning of that natural system?
  • Are pollutants, including sediments being introduced into the waterbody and if so, how does that affect the ecology or use of that water?
  • Are permits from other agencies required to conduct the activity?
  • Will activities in or around a waterbody use or release any chemicals or contaminants?
  • Are any methods proposed to use best management practices or mitigate potential adverse impacts?

Will there be an impact?

a. If no new water bodies will be created, there will be no related impacts. Check 'No, or small impact may occur'.

b. If the surface area of an existing water body will not be increased, there will be no related impacts. Check 'No or small impact may occur."

Small Impact:

Temporary changes or changes that are limited in size made to non-regulated water bodies may have only a small impact. Examples would be:

  • A small water body is created or changed:
  • The surface area of an existing water body will increase or decrease, but not by more than 10% or 10 acres.
  • The waterbody being affected is not a regulated water body.
  • The impact is isolated to the project site, is of minimal size, and does not adversely affect rare or unusual or listed species, habitats, or critical environmental areas.
Moderate to Large Impact:

Large and permanent changes made to a water body may change the ecology, water quality, use, or aesthetics of that waterbody and may have moderate to large impacts. Examples would be:

  • The surface area of an existing water body will increase or decrease in size by more than 10% or more than 10 acres.
  • The impact extends beyond the project site.
  • There will be an impact to a resource that is of special value to the local community as identified in an open space or land use plan.
  • If the water body is a habitat for a listed species or significant habitat, there may be moderate or large impacts even if it is changed by less than 10% or less than 10 acres.
  • The waterbody is a regulated water body.
  • The project will sever connections (such as diverting a stream) so that it changes a downstream wetland or other surface water body.

c. The proposed action may involve dredging more than 100 cubic yards of material from a wetland or water body.

Dredging is an integral part of the maintenance of New York's harbors, channels, fairways, canals, marinas, ports, terminals, and reservoirs. The term dredging includes all in-water activities designed to move or remove sediment. For further information on dredging, see the DEC technical and operational guidance document: In-Water and Riparian Management of Sediment and Dredged Material. Examples of dredging activities include but are not limited to mechanical and hydraulic dredging, mechanical plowing, trenching and jetting.

While dredging ultimately can serve an important function, there are potential impacts associated with it including but not limited to erosion, sedimentation, release of pollutants and chemicals, and changes in aquatic habitats. Applicants will need to provide measurements on how much material will be dredged from a wetland or water body in order to evaluate this question.

Applicable Part 1 Information

D.1.b., D.1.h., D.2.a., D.2.b., D.2.e., E.1.b., E.2.h., E.2.i., E.2.j., and E.2.k.

Analysis

  • How much of the area will be dredged?
    • How much material will be dredged and removed?
  • Will any significant fish or wildlife habitats be removed?
  • How will water turbidity impacts be limited or eliminated?
  • Where will dredged materials be removed to?
    • On site or off site?
    • What de-watering techniques will be used?
  • Will important wildlife habitats be harmed or removed?
  • What is the purpose of the activity and how will it be carried out?
  • After construction, what other resources including fish and wildlife, water supplies, changes to water chemistry, or changes upstream or downstream will result?
  • Does the proposed activity occur in a floodplain or floodway, and if so, does it affect the functioning of that natural system?
  • Are permits from other agencies required to conduct the activity?
  • Will activities in or around a waterbody use or release any chemicals or contaminants?

Will there be an impact?

If the proposed action does not involve dredging of a wetland or waterbody (stream, lake, pond, or reservoir), there will be no related adverse impacts. Check 'no, or small impact may occur'.

Small Impact:

Temporary changes or changes that are limited in size made to non-regulated water bodies may have only a small impact. Examples would be:

  • The waterbody to be dredged is not a regulated waterbody.
  • Dredging removes less than 100 cubic yards from a wetland or waterbody.
Moderate to Large Impact:

Examples of moderate to large impacts may be:

  • When more than 100 cubic yards of material from a wetland or waterbody will be dredged.
  • When the waterbody is a regulated waterbody.

d. The proposed action may involve construction within or adjoining a freshwater or tidal wetland, or in the bed or banks of any other water body.

Tree stands in a wetland area
Woodland Pool wetland

Construction in and around freshwater or tidal wetlands requires NYS DEC and US Army Corps of Engineer freshwater wetlands or tidal wetlands permits. Disturbances to the stream bed or banks may also require a protection of waters permit. A Protection Of Waters Permit is required for disturbing the bed or banks of a stream with a classification and standard of C(T) or higher (disturbance may be either temporary or permanent in nature). Actions that disturb wetlands, streams and other water bodies can result in adverse impacts such as erosion, sedimentation, loss of aquatic and other wildlife habitats, changes to down or upstream ecosystems, changes in water quality or quantity, and a reduction or loss of the important functioning of these natural systems.

Applicable Part 1 Information

D.1.b., D.1.h., D.2.a., D.2.b., D.2.e., E.1.b., E.2.h., E.2.i., E.2.j., and E.2.k.

Analysis

  • How much of the area will be dredged?
    • How much material will be dredged and removed?
  • Will any significant fish or wildlife habitats be removed?
  • How will water turbidity impacts be limited or eliminated?
  • Where will dredged materials be removed to?
    • On site or off site?
    • What de-watering techniques will be used?
  • Will important wildlife habitats be harmed or removed?
  • What is the purpose of the activity and how will it be carried out?
  • After construction, what other resources including fish and wildlife, water supplies, changes to water chemistry, or changes upstream or downstream will result?
  • Does the proposed activity occur in a floodplain or floodway, and if so, does it affect the functioning of that natural system?
  • Are permits from other agencies required to conduct the activity?
  • Will activities in or around a waterbody use or release any chemicals or contaminants?

Will there be an impact?

  • If the proposed action does not involve construction within or adjoining a freshwater or tidal wetland, or in the bed or banks of any other water body there will be no related adverse impacts. Check 'no, or small impact may occur'.
Small Impact:

Temporary changes or changes that are limited in size may have only a small impact. Examples would be:

  • Construction removes a minor amount of vegetation and the stream or wetland is not in a floodway or 100 year floodplain.
  • The project includes land clearing that disturbs less than 1 acre of land and does not require a SWPPP.
  • The project includes some paving or other impervious surfaces, but runoff is either controlled with a SWPPP or covers a small percentage of the parcel.
  • Construction disturbs a minor amount of stream bed or banks.
  • The waterbody is not a regulated waterbody or is not known as a habitat for listed species or is a significant habitat.
Moderate to Large Impact:

Examples of moderate to large impacts include;

  • The project is in a floodway or 100 year floodplain and is likely to change floodwaters, water flow or drainage to the water body.
  • The construction will change drainage patterns and result in water flow to adjacent properties or to areas that previously have not flooded.
  • Construction removes a moderate to large amount of streamside, lakeside or wetland vegetation.
  • A project changes the stream or lake bed and removes or changes pools, riffles, water flow, or vegetation in or along the bank or shore of a waterbody.

e. The proposed action may create turbidity in a waterbody, either from upland erosion, runoff or by disturbing bottom sediments.

Turbidity is when water becomes muddy and has sediments suspended in it. Turbidity results when soils are eroded and carried into a waterbody by stormwater runoff. It can also occur when stream, wetland and lake bottom sediments are disturbed. Turbidity can increase water temperatures which makes it less suitable for fish and aquatic animals. Turbid water reduces the amount of sunlight that reaches aquatic plants and sediments can clog fish gills or bury fish eggs. It also changes the aesthetic character of a waterbody and can damage equipment and motors. Actions that cause turbidity often relate to development, dredging, urban land-use, agriculture, and timber harvesting. While the physical impact of soil erosion and sedimentation affects aquatic resources and degrades water quality, the effects are magnified when rural and urban runoff carries contaminants associated with sediments.

Applicable Part 1 Information

D.1.b., D.1.h., D.2.a., D.2.b., D.2.e., E.1.b., E.2.h., E.2.i., E.2.j., E.2.k., E.2.n., E.2.o., and E.2.p.

Analysis

  • Will there be any dredging of an existing waterbody?
    • How much material will be dredged and removed?
  • Will any significant fish or wildlife habitats be removed?
  • How will water turbidity impacts be limited or eliminated?
  • Where will dredged materials be removed to?
    • On site or off site?
    • o Are disposal locations known?
    • What de-watering techniques will be used?
  • How is erosion proposed to be controlled?
  • What is the purpose of the activity and how will it be carried out?
  • After construction, what other resources including fish and wildlife, water supplies, changes to water chemistry, or changes upstream or downstream will result?
  • Are permits from other agencies required to conduct the activity?

Will there be an impact?

If the proposed action does not include any activities that will create turbidity in a waterbody, or there are no waterbodies on or near a project site that could be affected by sedimentation or runoff, there will be no related turbidity impacts. Check 'no, or small impact may occur'.

Small Impact:

Turbidity that is of a temporary nature and easily controlled with erosion controlled methods and limited in size and scope may have only a small impact. Examples would be:

  • First and foremost, there should be no visible contrast in the water as a result of the proposed methods.
  • Actions result in temporary and minor turbidity affecting only a small portion of the water body and takes place during construction phase only.
  • Turbidity impacts will be limited to a short time period or during the time of year that does not affect vegetation or wildlife.
  • The waterbody is not a regulated waterbody.
  • There are no listed species, significant habitats, critical environmental areas, etc. associated with the waterbody.
Moderate to Large Impact:

Examples of moderate to large impacts are:

  • Implementation of practices to avoid turbidity are note well represented and this impact may affect a large portion of the waterbody or affect a downstream waterbody.
  • Turbidity results from both construction and operation phases of the project.
  • Turbidity impacts are long-lasting or during the time of year that will affect the health and growth of vegetation and wildlife.
  • The waterbody is a regulated waterbody.
  • There are listed species, significant habitats, critical environmental areas, etc. associated with the waterbody.
  • The waterbody is part of a larger complex of inter-connected water systems.

f. The proposed action may include construction of one or more intake(s) for withdrawal of water from surface water.

Water intake facilities can be located on rivers, estuaries, and marine environments. It is usually associated with provided water for domestic water supply facilities, irrigation systems for agriculture, power plants, and industrial process users. Water is diverted directly from the waterbody by means of pumping facilities or is stored in impoundments or reservoirs. Water withdrawn from estuarine and marine environments may be used to cool coastal power generating stations, as a source of water for agricultural purposes, and more recently, as a source of domestic water through desalinization facilities.

Water intake structures can interfere or disrupt ecosystem functions in the source waters, as well as downstream water bodies such as estuaries and bays. Long-term water withdrawal may adversely affect fish and shellfish populations and with high volume withdrawals, can trap and impinge fish and invertebrates, alter natural flow rates, degrade shorelines and riparian habitats, and can alter the aquatic community structure and diversity of species.

Applicable Part 1 Information

D.2.a., D.2.b., D.2.c., E.2.h., E.2.i., E.2.j., E.2.k., E.2.n., E.2.o., and E.2.p.

Analysis

  • Will the water body and its adjacent banks, shores, or lands will be physically disturbed to install the withdrawal intakes?
  • What impacts may occur as a result of construction in or near the waterbody?
  • After construction, what other resources including fish and wildlife, water supplies, changes to water chemistry, or changes upstream or downstream will result?
  • Does using that water affect other existing needs and uses of that water?
  • Does the proposed activity occur in a floodplain or floodway, and if so, does it affect the functioning of that natural system?
  • Are permits from other agencies required to conduct the activity?
  • What affect will a water withdrawal have on the surface water body?
    • Will it change water levels, temperature, chemistry, turbidity, or flow?
  • Are any methods proposed to use best management practices or mitigate potential adverse impacts?

Will there be an impact?

If the proposed project does not include construction of intake(s) for withdrawal of water from any surface water body, there will be no related impacts. Check 'no, or small impact may occur'.

Small Impact:

Temporary and small volume intakes of water, along with limited land disturbances needed for construction of intakes may have only a small impact. Examples would be:

  • Water withdrawal intakes are temporary, such as several times during the summer season.
  • Projects where there are no high volume withdrawals.
  • Withdrawals that do not result in altered flow rates, or degraded shorelines, stream bottoms or riparian habitats.
  • Projects that do not change the overall health of the aquatic community or species diversity.
Moderate to Large Impact:

Examples of moderate to large impacts are:

  • Water withdrawals are used long-term for water supplies, irrigation, power plants and industrial uses.
  • There are long-term or high volume withdrawals.
  • Withdrawals could result in altered flow rates, could degrade shorelines, stream bottoms or riparian habitats, or change the ecological community.

It should be noted that interbasin diversion of water or wastewater of 1,000,000 gallons per day or more, likely requires registration per NYS DEC NYCRR Part 601.18. In addition, new or increased interbasin diversion of water or wastewater out of the Great Lakes Basin is prohibited except for limited public water supply projects (per NYCRR Part 601.18(j)). The DEC Division of Water should be contacted if this is a component of the project proposal.

g. The proposed action may include construction of one or more outfall(s) for discharge of wastewater to surface water(s).

Outfalls for discharge of wastewater would be considered a point-source of pollution. Not all point-source discharge results in adverse impacts to aquatic organisms or their habitats. Most point-source discharges are regulated by the DEC under the SPDES permit program and the effects on receiving waters are considered under this permitting program. Point source discharges may change habitats by creating adverse impacts to sensitive areas such as freshwater, estuarine, and marine wetlands; emergent marshes; and submerged aquatic vegetation beds and shellfish beds. When there is a high velocity of the discharge, scouring of the bed may occur causing turbidity.

The discharge of effluent from point sources can cause numerous habitat impacts such as changes to sediments, temperatures, current patterns or water salinity. There can be a loss of habitat, or a conversion to other types of species. For example, this can occur when freshwater is introduced into estuary areas. Temperature changes, increased turbidity, and the release of contaminants can also result in the reduced use of an area by marine and estuarine species and their prey and impede the migration of some fishes. Areas surrounding the discharge pipes may not support a healthy, productive community because of physical and chemical alterations of the habitat.

Applicable Part 1 Information

D.2.b., D.2.d., E.2.d., E.2.h., E.2.i., E.2.j., and E.2.k.

Analysis

  • Will any part of the water body and its adjacent bank, shore, or land be physically disturbed?
  • What impacts may occur as a result of construction in or near the waterbody (i. e. non-contact cooling water or washwater from an industrial process)?
  • After construction, what other resources including fish and wildlife, water supplies, changes to water chemistry, or changes upstream or downstream will result?
  • Do discharges in that water affect other existing needs and uses of that water?
  • Does the proposed activity occur in a floodplain or floodway, and if so, does it affect the functioning of that natural system?
  • Are pollutants, including sediments being introduced into the waterbody and if so, how does that affect the ecology or use of that water?
  • Are permits from other agencies required to conduct the activity?
  • Will activities in or around a waterbody use or release any chemicals or contaminants?
  • What affect will a water discharge have on the surface water body?
    • Will it change water levels, temperature, chemistry, turbidity, or flow?
  • Are any methods proposed to use best management practices or mitigate potential adverse impacts?

Will there be an impact?

If the proposed project does not include construction of outfall(s) for discharge of water to any surface water body, there will be no related impacts. Check 'no, or small impact may occur'.

Small Impact:

Temporary changes or changes that are limited in size made to non-regulated water bodies may have only a small impact.

  • Discharge is low flow so that there is no change to bottom sediments, water temperatures, or changes in water chemistry or turbidity is an example.
Moderate to Large Impact:

Examples of moderate to large impacts are:

  • Discharge is moderate to high flow in volume and it will likely result in scouring of bottom sediments, changes in water temperatures, changes in water chemistry and increases in turbidity.

h. The proposed action may cause soil erosion, or otherwise create a source of stormwater discharge that may lead to siltation or other degradation of receiving water bodies.

Sediment entering a water body can negatively impact both water quality and quantity in many ways. Siltation may reduce water storage capacity, recreational use such as boating. It can also stimulate aquatic weed and algae growth and degrade fish habitats. Siltation can also degrade the appearance of the waterbody because it can result in muddy water or visible sand bars.

Applicable Part 1 Information

D.1.b., D.1.h., D.2.a., D.2.b., D.2.e., E.1.b., E.1.e., E.2.d., E.2.h., E.2.i., E.2.j., E.2.k., E.2.n., E.2.o., and E.2.p.

Also: Water Discharge Permits

Analysis

  • How much of the water body and its adjacent banks, shores, or lands will be physically disturbed?
  • Are activities proposed that could increase erosion such as removal of vegetation, grading etc.
  • What impacts may occur as a result of construction in or near the waterbody?
  • After construction, what other resources including fish and wildlife, water supplies, changes to water chemistry, or changes upstream or downstream will result?
  • Are pollutants, including sediments being introduced into the waterbody and if so, how does that affect the ecology or use of that water?
  • Are permits from other agencies required to conduct the activity?
  • Will activities in or around a waterbody use or release any chemicals or contaminants?
  • Are any methods proposed to use best management practices or mitigate potential adverse impacts?

Will there be an impact?

If the action is one that will not cause soil erosion, or result in stormwater runoff that could impact surface waterbodies (wetlands, ponds, rivers, streams, lakes, etc.) there will be no related impact. In that case, check 'no, or small impact may occur'. Note however, that even land clearing that does not meet the thresholds of requiring a DEC SPDES permit may create some stormwater runoff that eventually finds its way to a surface water body. Reviewing agencies should carefully evaluate erosion and stormwater potential and impacts on surface waterbodies off-site.

Small Impact:

Isolated, temporary changes or disturbances that are limited in size may have only a small impact. Examples would be:

  • The impact is isolated to the project site, is of minimal size, and does not adversely affect rare or unusual species, habitats, wetlands, or critical environmental areas.
  • Less than 1 acre of land is to be disturbed and no SWPPP is required.
  • There are no chemicals or other pollutants used on site that would impact surface waterbody chemistry, vegetation, or wildlife species.
  • Runoff will be temporary and easily controlled with erosion control devices.
Moderate to Large Impact:

When moderate to large areas of vegetation are removed and soils exposed, erosion and stormwater discharges may cause siltation. Examples of projects that may result in moderate to large impacts are:

  • When many impervious surfaces such as large parking lots and large scaled buildings are planned, where there is risk that such runoff will affect downstream waterbodies.
  • A project where there are chemicals used or there is a risk of a spill on site that may become a water pollutant.

i. The proposed action may affect the water quality of any water bodies within or downstream of the site of the proposed action.

This question has similar components as Part 2, Question 3 (h). However, this question explores impacts beyond erosion. Reviewing agencies should evaluate if the action could impact water quality in ways other than erosion such as by adding fertilizers, detergents, phosphorus, petroleum products, cleaners or other chemicals to discharges or runoff.

Stormwater runoff comes from rain and snowmelt that flows over land or constructed surfaces such as paved streets, sidewalks, parking lots and rooftops and that does not seep into the ground. When this happens, the water picks up and moves chemicals, nutrients, sediments or other pollutants and debris along with it. If this stormwater runoff is not slowed and captured before it flows into lakes, rivers, and wetlands, it can negatively impact water quality.

Pollution transported by stormwater degrades the quality of drinking water, and damages fisheries and habitats of plants and animals that depend on clean water for survival. Pollutants carried by stormwater can also affect recreational uses of water bodies by making them unsafe for wading, swimming, boating and fishing.

For additional information see also the Stormwater and Urban Stormwater Runoff Facts pages.

Other water quality impacts would include changes in temperature, or spikes in water volume flows, changes to the pH or dissolved oxygen levels, addition of suspended solids, or changes to water odor, color or taste. Water quality can also be impaired by actions that introduce or cause bacteria such as coliform or e. coli, or change other water chemistry.

Applicable Part 1 Information

D.1.b., D.1.h., D.2.a., D.2.b., D.2.d., D.2.e., E.1.b., E.1.e., E.2.h., E.2.i., E.2.j., E.2.k., E.2.n., E.2.o., and E.2.p.

Analysis

  • How does the activity affect water quality including temperature, odor, color, taste, turbidity, and the chemical composition?
  • Is the proposed activity likely to introduce coliform or other bacteria to the water?
  • What impacts may occur as a result of these changes in water quality?
  • Are pollutants, including sediments being introduced into the waterbody and if so, how does that affect the ecology or use of that water?
  • Are permits from other agencies required to conduct the activity?
  • Will activities in or around a waterbody use or release any chemicals or contaminants?
  • Are any methods proposed to use best management practices or mitigate potential adverse impacts?

Will there be an impact?

If the action is one that will not cause any water quality impacts within or downstream from the action there will be no related impact. In that case, check 'no, or small impact may occur'. Note however, that even land clearing that is less than 1 acre and does not need to meet the DEC SPDES requirements is likely to create some stormwater runoff that eventually finds its way to a surface water body. Further, many small actions can impact water bodies. For example, removing some streamside vegetation can increase the amount of sunlight reaching a surface water body and that can raise the temperature, making it difficult for cold water fish species to survive. Reviewing agencies should carefully evaluate water quality changes on surface waterbodies off-site.

Small Impact:

Temporary changes or changes that are limited in size made to isolated non-regulated water bodies may have only a small impact. Examples would be:

  • Water quality impacts may occur temporarily such as during a short construction season.
  • The water body is isolated and not connected to a larger hydrogeological system.
  • The water body is not part of a regulated waterbody.
Moderate to Large Impact:

Examples of moderate to large impacts may be when:

  • Water quality impacts resulting from the project may occur frequently, or long-term.
  • Impacts occur as part of both construction and operation phases.
  • Affected waterbodies are interconnected and part of a larger system.
  • Waterbodies are regulated.
  • Chemical and physical indicators of water pollution such as change in temperature and pH, or use of nitrates, pesticides, or heavy metals are likely to be measured as a result of the proposed project.

j. The proposed action may involve the application of pesticides or herbicides in or around any water body.

Pesticides vary in their toxicity to humans and other animals. Some are not as toxic to humans and other mammals, but are quite toxic to fish and invertebrates. The term pesticide' includes those 'herbicides' which are targeted to kill vegetation. Pesticides can kill plants and animals as well as attach to soil particles and accumulate in waterbodies and their sediments. When herbicides are used, aquatic and terrestrial life can be impacted both by the direct toxic action of the herbicide, as well as by the actual removal of aquatic vegetation itself. Aquatic vegetation is an integral component of an aquatic ecosystem. Fish, reptiles, amphibians, aquatic birds, aquatic mammals, and invertebrates rely on aquatic vegetation for shelter, protection, spawning substrate, and food.

Applicable Part 1 Information

D.1.b.,D.2.q. E.1.b., E.2.d., and E.2.h.

Also see:

Analysis

  • Will any pesticides be introduced to the water?
    • If so, from what source?
    • What pesticide?
  • What impacts do these pesticides have on aquatic ecosystems?
  • Is any of the water being affected by pesticides used for drinking water?
  • How long and how frequently will the pesticides be used?
  • Will pesticides sequester in sediments or be taken up by plants?
    • Or will it stay in the water column?
  • Are any methods proposed to use best management practices or mitigate potential adverse impacts?

Will there be an impact?

If no pesticides or herbicides will be applied in or around surface water bodies, there will be no related impacts. Check 'No, or small impact may occur'.

Small Impact:
  • Single use or treatment with a pesticide, or for individual residential use may have only a small impact. However, all pesticides have the potential to adversely impact a water body in some manner. Reviewing agencies should carefully examine what type of pesticide, how often they will be used, and what species of plant or animal may be affected in order to determine if the extent of impact is small, or moderate to large.
Moderate to Large Impact:
  • When pesticides are applied on or near a surface water body by commercial or recreational users, such as golf courses there is a risk of moderate to large impacts occurring.
  • Pesticide is being applied to control an invasive species or reclaim a waterbody.

k. The proposed action may require the construction of new, or expansion of existing, wastewater treatment facilities.

Wastewater treatment is the process of removing physical, chemical, and biological contaminants from sewage. It is essentially a way to speed up the natural purification processes to return the treated water back to the environment with as little impact as possible. Wastewater treatment facilities range from private septic systems to public sewage treatment facilities. Some projects may need a SPDES permit from DEC. SPDES is the NY State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System that controls wastewater discharges. Wastewater treatment utilities meeting the following criteria will need a SPDES permit from DEC:

  • Constructing or connecting to an outlet or pipe that discharges more than 1,000 gallons per day of sewage-only wastes to ground water
  • Constructing or connecting to an outlet or pipe that discharges industrial or other non-sewage wastes to ground water
  • Constructing or connecting to an outlet or pipe that discharges wastewater into any surface water
  • Constructing or operating a disposal system such as a sewage treatment plant

Wastewater treatment systems that discharge less than 1,000 gallons per day to groundwater, and that have no industrial or other non-sewage wastes will require approval from the appropriate city or county health department, or the appropriate district office of the New York State Department of Health.

Applicable Part 1 Information

D.1.a., and D.2.d.

Analysis

  • How much treated wastewater will be produced?
  • What water body will wastewater be discharged into?
  • Will construction of the treatment facility impact water quality of the surface water body?
  • Does the proposed activity occur in a floodplain or floodway, and if so, does it affect the functioning of that natural system?
  • Does discharge from the waste treatment facility also include stormwater?
    • If so, what water quality impacts might that have?
  • Will treated wastewater discharge change water levels, temperature, chemistry, turbidity, or flow?

Will there be an impact?

If there will be no construction or expansion of wastewater treatment facilities, there will be no related impacts. Check 'no, or small impact may occur'.

Small Impact:

Wastewater treatment systems that discharge less than 1,000 gallons per day to groundwater, and that have no industrial or other non-sewage wastes may have small impacts.

Moderate to Large Impact:

Examples of moderate to large impacts are:

  • Constructing or connecting to an outlet or pipe that discharges more than 1,000 gallons per day of sewage-only wastes to ground water.
  • Constructing or connecting to an outlet or pipe that discharges industrial or other non-sewage wastes to ground water.
  • Constructing or connecting to an outlet or pipe that discharges wastewater into any surface water.
  • Constructing or operating a disposal system such as a sewage treatment plant.

l. Other impacts:

There may be other impacts identified by the reviewing agency that are not addressed by the above questions. If so, they should be identified and briefly described here.

Some proposed actions may have beneficial impacts on the environment. The reviewing agency can use the 'other' category for that purpose, too.

Some examples of other impacts related to surface water may be:

  • Altering or disrupting the natural flow of current
  • Altering the depth of the water body
  • Changing the natural bottom composition
  • Disturbing bottom materials that would release sequestered pollutants
  • Impacts on surface water supplies that may be used for drinking water

Back to Part 2 - Identification of Potential Project Impacts (FEAF) || Continue to Part 2 (FEAF) Question 4 - Impact on Groundwater


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