DOI-BLM-NV-W010-2011-0001-EA

From Open Energy Information


NEPA Document Collection for: DOI-BLM-NV-W010-2011-0001-EA
EA at Grass Valley Geothermal Area for Geothermal/Exploration, Geothermal/Well Field

EA of the Leach Hot Springs Geothermal Exploration Project at Grass Valley Geothermal Area for Geothermal/Exploration, Geothermal/Well Field Drilling and Well Testing

Proposed Action

Operations Plan describes construction of up to 12 well pads, each sized to accommodate the drilling of each of three different types of geothermal exploration wells: temperature gradient wells, observation wells, and production wells (the drilling of each type of well may not necessarily occur on each well pad, and the pad would be sized to accommodate the type of well drilled) for a maximum total of 36 exploration wells; improvements to existing, and construction of new on-lease access roads; expansion of an existing mineral material site; up to two groundwater wells (which would be drilled on one or two of the constructed well pads); temporary surface pipelines and associated ancillaryfacilities (including a temporary man-camp) for the purpose of drilling geothermal exploration wells within Ormat's Leach Hot Springs geothermal Lease Area



Documents

Serial Register Page: Application: Application Attachments:




FONSI:


 

<metadesc> : NEPA document related to geothermal resource areas </metadesc>

Resource Analysis

Resource Not
Present
Present,
Not
Affected
Present,
Potentially
Affected
Not
Indicated
Comment Applicant
Proposed
Mitigation
Agency
Imposed
Mitigation
Air Quality
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

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All applicable state and federal air quality standards would be met through the use of the best available technology to control emissions.

Equipment and vehicle idling times would be minimized during construction and operation.

A maximum speed limit of 25 miles per hour would be enforced on unpaved roads within the Project Area in order to reduce fugitive dust emissions.

Access roads, Project Area roads, and other traffic areas would be maintained on a regular basis to minimize dust and provide for safe travel conditions.

Proposed access roads would be surfaced with aggregate where appropriate.

Dust abatement techniques, such as watering, would be used on unpaved roads and in areas where soils are exposed in order to reduce fugitive dust emissions.

Dust abatement techniques, such as watering, requiring loader buckets to be emptied slowly, and minimizing drop heights, would be applied during earthmoving, excavating, trenching, grading, and aggregate crushing and processing activities.

H2S levels would be monitored during drilling of temperature gradient, observation, and production wells.�

5
 
Areas of Critical Environmental Concern
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

   
Environmental Justice
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

   
Prime or Unique Farmlands
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

   
Invasive, Nonnative Species
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

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Ormat would map and treat areas that become infested with invasive species/noxious weeds during construction, and use certified weed-free seed and mulching materials in accordance with lease stipulations.

Any new noxious weed infestations would be treated.

Ormat would provide the BLM, Winnemucca District Weed Specialist with copies of pre-construction Geographic Information System (GIS) coverages and maps, along with related reports that depict, on all areas of exploration, the presence or absence and identity of any noxious weeds or invasive, non-native species.

Ormat would also provide the BLM with copies of any similar information generated

from the applicant's noxious weed control program over the term of the project.
 
Native American Concerns
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

 
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Project-related traffic should be restricted to access roads and well pads.

Native Americans should be allowed access to TCPs and sacred sites, if discovered.

Due to Native American religious beliefs concerning springs, it is important that the mitigation recommended in the Water Quality section be implemented.
Floodplains
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

   
Wetlands and Riparian Zones
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

   
Threatened and Endangered Species
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

   
Migratory Birds
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

   
Wastes Hazardous or Solid
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

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A project hazardous material spill and disposal contingency plan would describe the methods for cleanup and abatement of any petroleum hydrocarbon or other hazardous material spill. The hazardous material spill and disposal contingency plan would be submitted to and approved by the BLM and made readily available on-site before operations begin in accordance with lease stipulations.

Secondary containment structures would be provided for all chemical and petroleum/oil storage areas during drilling operations. Additionally, absorbent pads or sheets would be placed under likely spill sources and spill kits would be maintained on-site during construction and drilling activities to provide prompt response to accidental leaks or spills of chemicals and petroleum products.

Handling, storage, and disposal of hazardous materials, hazardous wastes, and solid wastes would be conducted in conformance with federal and state regulations to prevent soil, groundwater, or surface water contamination and associated adverse effects on the environment or worker health and safety.

Portable chemical sanitary facilities would be available and used by all personnel during periods of well drilling and/or flow testing. These facilities would be maintained by a local contractor. All septic holding tanks would be located above ground.
 
Wild and Scenic Rivers
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

   
Wilderness
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

   
Range Resources
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

   
Lands and Realty
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

Close

Ormat would contact all parties that currently hold ROWs in the vicinity of the Project Area, including NV Energy, regarding overhead transmissions that cross the northern portion of the Project Area.

Ormat would not perform any drilling activities within existing ROWs.

Ormat would contact ROW holders for locations of underground utilities prior to

commencement of project.
 
Geology and Minerals
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

   
Paleontological Resources
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

CloseIn the event that previously undiscovered paleontological resources are discovered in the

performance of any surface-disturbing activities, the item(s) or condition(s) would be left

intact and immediately brought to the attention of the authorized officer of the BLM.
 
Noise
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

   
Recreation
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

   
Soils
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

Close

Topsoil would be salvaged, stockpiled, and reused in a timely manner.

All disturbed surfaces that are currently vegetated, including those that are disturbed temporarily during construction only, would be reseeded using the BLM-provided seed mix presented in Table 5.

Erosion control measures, including but not limited to silt fencing, diversion ditches, water bars, temporary mulching and seeding, and application of gravel or riprap, would be installed, where necessary, immediately after completion of construction activities to avoid erosion and runoff.

Access roads would follow existing contours to the maximum extent possible. In areas where new access roads must be constructed across slopes, erosion control measures such as silt fencing, surface roughening of slopes, and slope stabilization would be provided as necessary.

An average of 6 inches of gravel would be used as road surface where appropriate because roads would be used during all seasons. Gravel applied to road surfaces and drill pads would be removed during reclamation as described in Section 2.1.8.2.

Gravel would be laid down when ground conditions are wet enough to cause rutting or other noticeable surface deformation or severe compaction. As a general rule, if vehicles or other project equipment create ruts in excess of 4 inches deep when traveling crosscountry over wet soils, a gravel surface would be added prior to additional vehicle use.

In areas of very soft soils, up to 3 feet of aggregate would be used during construction.�
 
Special Status Species
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

 
Close

Should construction or drilling occur within a one-half mile distance of an active raptor nest, including the known ferruginous hawk nest in the Project Area, construction shall be delayed until any young birds have fledged from the nest. Should raptors begin to nest in the Project Area after the initiation of drilling, the birds would be considered habituated to the disturbance and drilling could continue.

Sagebrush seedlings would be required in disturbed sagebrush habitat. Density of seedlings should be 0.25 per meter square (1 seedling per 4 meters), or 1,000 seedlings

per acre. Seedlings would be planted between February 15 and April 1.
Vegetation
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

Close

Impacts to vegetation would be minimized by reseeding all areas of access roads and well pads not required for subsequent energy production using weed free and BLM-approved seed mixtures (Table 5). Seeding would be conducted between October 1 and December 31. Disturbed areas would be re-contoured to blend with the surrounding topography. Topsoil would be salvaged whenever possible and reused in a timely manner.

The well pads would be constructed to avoid ephemeral washes to the extent practicable. The pads would be designed to divert sheet wash or water in drainages around and away from drill pads.

Sagebrush seedlings would be planted during interim and final reclamation in topographic drainages and draws (typically areas of concentrated sagebrush) where project-related

disturbance occurred.
CloseSagebrush seedlings would be required in disturbed sagebrush habitat. Density of seedlings should be 0.25 per meter square (1 seedling per 4 meters), or 1,000 seedlings per acre. Seedlings would be planted between February 15 and April 1.�
Visual Resources
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

Close

Standard dust control mitigation methods would be used during construction and grading.

Cut and fill areas would be minimized by proper placement of roads and well pads.

Features placed at the well pads would be removed after drilling and testing so that only the wellhead extends above the well pad. Wellheads would be painted a color that blends with the surrounding area, as approved by the BLM.

Drill rig and well test facility lights would be limited to those required to safely conduct the operations.

To avoid light pollution onto adjacent areas as viewed from a distance, Ormat would utilize directional lighting directed downward on to the pertinent site only and away from adjacent areas. Ormat would utilize lighting that is hooded and shielded for all lighting associated with the project so as not to allow the bulb to shine up or out with the

exception of vehicle headlamps.
 
Wild Horse and Burro Management
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

   
Wildlife Resources
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

Close

Trash and other waste products would be properly managed and Ormat would control garbage that could attract wildlife. All trash would be removed from the Project Area and disposed of at an authorized landfill.

A speed limit of 25 miles per hour would be observed on roads within the Project Area, and if necessary, would be reduced when wildlife is active near access and service roads. The 25-mile speed limit would be posted at the project site.

Employees and contractors would be strictly prohibited from carrying firearms (or similar hunting-type weapons) on the job site to discourage illegal hunting and harassment of wildlife.

Reclamation of the disturbed areas, as described earlier in this document, would be completed in order to return these areas to the condition required in the drilling permit Conditions of Approval.

The well pads would be constructed to avoid ephemeral washes to the extent practicable. The pads would be designed to divert sheet wash or water in drainages around and away from drill pads.

Sagebrush seedlings would be planted during interim and final reclamation in topographic drainages and draws (typically areas of concentrated sagebrush) where project-related disturbance occured.

Reserve pits would be constructed and fenced in accordance with the BMPs identified in the Gold Book (BLM 2007).
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To mitigate for the potential impacts to mule deer use, operations within the areas mapped as crucial winter habitat for mule deer would not be permitted between December 15 and March 15. Should sufficient additional data be collected to determine actual mule deer use within the Project Area, modifications to these dates could be made by the BLM in consultation with the NDOW. The seasonal restriction for crucial mule deer winter habitat also applies to wintering sage-grouse.

Sagebrush seedlings would be required in disturbed sagebrush habitat. Density of seedlings should be 0.25 per meter square (1 seedling per 4 meters), or 1,000 seedlings per acre. Seedlings would be planted between February 15 and April 1.
Fire Resources
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

Close

Any small fires which occur around the well pad during drilling and/or testing operations should be able to be controlled by rig personnel utilizing on-site firefighting equipment.

The BLM Winnemucca District Office (775.623.3444 or 800.535.6076) would be notified immediately of any wildland fire, even if the available personnel can handle the situation or the fire poses no threat to the surrounding area.

A roster of emergency phone numbers would be available at the project site so that the appropriate firefighting agency can be contacted in case of a fire.

All vehicles would carry at a minimum, a shovel, 5 gallons of water (preferably in a backpack pump), and a conventional fire extinguisher.

Adequate fire-fighting equipment (a shovel, a Pulaski, standard fire extinguisher(s), and an ample water supply) would be kept readily available at each active drill site. Water that is used for construction and dust control would be available for fire suppression.

Vehicle catalytic converters (on vehicles that enter and leave the drill site on a regular basis) would be inspected often and cleaned of all flammable debris.

All cutting/welding torch use, electric-arc welding, and grinding operations would be conducted in an area free, or mostly free, from vegetation. An ample water supply and shovel would be on hand to extinguish any fires created from sparks. At least one person in addition to the cutter/welder/grinder would be at the work site to promptly detect fires created by sparks.

Personnel would be responsible for being aware of and complying with the requirements of any fire restrictions or closures issued by the BLM Winnemucca District Office, as publicized in the local media or posted at various sites throughout the district.

Personnel would be allowed to smoke only in designated areas and would be required to

follow applicable BLM regulations regarding smoking.
 
Noise
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

Close

Noise suppression devices would be utilized on all compressors.

Ear protection would be required for all personnel.
 
Cultural Resources
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

Close

Ormat would avoid known eligible and potentially eligible cultural resource sites through design, construction, and operation of the project.

An approximately 100-foot buffer zone would be established around eligible and potentially eligible cultural resource sites to help provide protection to the sites. Project facilities and disturbance would not encroach into the established 100-foot buffer zone.

The project facilities would be operated in a manner consistent with the engineered design to prevent problems associated with the run-off that could affect adjacent cultural sites. This includes the use of BMPs to minimize off-site erosion and sedimentation.

Ormat would limit vehicle and equipment travel to existing and proposed roads, well pad locations, and construction areas. Ormat would limit travel to existing roads in order to access the proposed mineral material site expansion area.

Any unplanned discovery of cultural resources, items of cultural patrimony, sacred objects, human remains, or funerary items requires that all activity in the vicinity of the find ceases and the Field Manager, Humboldt River Field Office, 5100 East Winnemucca Boulevard, Winnemucca, Nevada 89445, be notified immediately by telephone (775.623.1500) with written confirmation to follow. The location of the find would not be publicly disclosed, and any human remains must be secured and preserved in place until a Notice to Proceed is issued by the authorized officer.
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Due to Native American religious beliefs concerning springs, it is important that the mitigation recommended in the Water Quality section be implemented.

If gravel is to be taken from the existing mineral material pit, a boundary fence would be constructed to protect the existing prehistoric site. The boundary fence would be built to

the width of the proposed gravel pit and include appropriate signage.
Water Quantity
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

CloseSurface Water

Several topographical drainages representing ephemeral, intermittent, or seasonal drainages exist in the proposed Project Area. No springs or wetlands are present within the Lease Area; however, Leach Hot Springs is located on private land immediately down-gradient and adjacent to the Lease Area. It is possible that impacts to surface drainages and Leach Hot Springs could occur during significant storm events. Potential releases of materials used during construction activities, primarily hydrocarbon releases from construction equipment, could potentially impact storm water. Prior to construction, Ormat would develop a spill and discharge contingency plan that details specific containment, cleanup and abatement, and notification procedures that would be implemented in the event of a spill or discharge. Ormat would implement BMPs during construction to prevent the contamination of storm water runoff. The BMPs would include the following:

  • When proposed new access roads must cross ephemeral washes, rolling dips would be

installed. The rolling dips would be designed to accommodate flows from at least a 25- year storm event. Culverts could potentially be used wherever rolling dips are not feasible.

  • Silt fences and/or straw bales would be used in areas requiring sediment control.
  • Roads and well pads not required for further geothermal development purposes would be

re-contoured to preconstruction conditions and seeded to prevent erosion.

  • Access roads would follow existing contours to the maximum extent possible. In areas

where new access roads must be constructed across slopes, erosion control measures such as silt fencing, surface roughening of slopes, and slope stabilization would be provided as necessary.

  • Erosion control measures, including but not limited to silt fencing, diversion ditches,

water bars, temporary mulching and seeding, and application of gravel or riprap, would be installed, where necessary, immediately after completion of construction activities to avoid erosion and runoff.
Groundwater Ormat would implement various environmental protection measures to ensure that groundwater quality is not impacted from exploration drilling activities. The protection measures would include the following:

  • Excavation into native soil during construction of well pad reserve pits would be

minimized to the maximum extent possible.

  • Drill pad reserve pits would be compacted during construction, and settled bentonite clay

from drilling mud would accumulate on the bottom of the drill pad reserve pits to act as an unconsolidated clay liner, reducing the potential for drilling fluid to percolate to groundwater.

  • A BLM-approved cementing and casing program for the drilling of exploration wells

would be implemented to prevent water quality effects on groundwater during or after completion of the wells.

  • Borehole geophysics analyses (cement bond logs) would be conducted to document that

well casing cementing activities provide an effective seal isolating the geothermal aquifer from shallow alluvial aquifers, therefore minimizing potential impacts to the shallow aquifers potentially connected to surface springs, or streams.

  • The project would use BMPs to ensure that any geothermal fluid encountered during the

drilling does not flow uncontrolled to the surface. These include the use of "blow-out" prevention equipment during drilling and the installation of well casing cemented into the ground.

  • Any well on the leased land that is not in use or demonstrated to be potentially useful

would, upon approval by the BLM, be promptly plugged and abandoned in accordance with lease stipulations. No well would be abandoned until it has been demonstrated to the satisfaction of the BLM that it is no longer capable of producing in commercial quantities and would not serve any other useful purpose for this project such as for injection of geothermal fluids or monitoring of the geothermal reservoir or groundwater. All wells

would be plugged on the completion of the project.
ClosePrior to commencement of exploration activities, the operator should institute a BLM approved water monitoring program.