Projects in the SR3 Program will take place within three areas: roads, laterals, and environmentally sensitive areas.
Environmentally sensitive areas (ESAs) include tidal and non-tidal wetlands and wetland buffers, forests, roadside trees, specimen trees, floodplains, waterways, parkland, steep slopes, historical/archaeological sites, Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bay Critical Areas, and areas with rare, threatened, and endangered species. Many assets (i.e., manholes and sewer pipes) have already been fixed and improved. The next few years will bring even more service improvements via repair and rehabilitation work.
The SR3 Program will provide many benefits for all of WSSC’s customers – both now and well into the future. One of the major goals of this program is to perform repair work using means and methods that will have the least impact on the surrounding environment. Several of the major program highlights that demonstrate WSSC’s environmental stewardship are discussed below.
Thus, stream restoration design work will include elements that will help control erosion along the stream banks and regulate water flows and elevations such that they are conducive to the aquatic species (and other life forms) that call these areas home.
For sewer repair work of this nature (i.e., lining, point repairs, grouting, etc.), standard practice sometimes requires the use of large, heavy equipment. In turn, access paths (albeit temporary) must be constructed to get this equipment to a particular work site. In many cases, the assets that will be repaired as part of the SR3 Program are located in ESAs. WSSC is using innovative methods for bringing equipment to and from these areas such as using walk-behind equipment (in lieu of heavy machinery) to reduce impacts, where possible.
The use of walk-behind equipment will allow the construction contractor to access sites that may be very heavily wooded, on a steep slope or otherwise difficult to reach with standard construction apparatus. The rubber treads on these transport devices allow the equipment to pass over low-lying brush and shrubs while not requiring that a path be cleared to the site.
Where possible, WSSC will select access paths that avoid ESAs, minimize the path widths (to reduce impacts), replant the paths when work is complete, and use existing roads and trails (where possible).
Working with their counterparts in the parks and planning departments of both Counties, WSSC has developed an approach to reduce impacts to ESAs. Mulch access mats and wood chips will be supplied (where needed) for temporary access paths when heavier equipment is utilized. Mulch access mats are environmentally friendly to the ground beneath and can handle equipment carrying both light and heavy loads. Furthermore, access paths using these mats will be selected which reduce impacts to the immediate area (i.e., removal of trees, shrubs, and other vegetation).