Carlsbad Caverns National Park has made a determination to replace the park’s water distribution pipeline, which was damaged by freezing temperatures and fire three years ago. The review of this project took a year to complete and included a 30-day public comment period.
An Environmental Assessment (EA) was required by National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), before the pipeline could be replaced. The assessment, which was recently completed, analyzed several engineering alternatives to fix or replace the pipeline as well as assessed potential effects on park resources. The park selected the alternative to remove the 7000-foot damaged pipeline and replace it with a new one buried in the existing trench. Work on the project is expected to start later this year.
The other alternatives that were considered: no action; minimal repair of the damaged pipeline; removal and replacement of the damaged pipeline with a similar above-ground pipeline and removal of the storage tank; or replacement of the pipeline with a pump pressurized system.
The EA and Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for this project can be viewed online at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/.