Friday, October 8, 2010
ConsCom approves Benfield boardwalk plan
Steve Hinton of the Carlisle Conservation Foundation returned to the Conservation Commission (ConsCom) public hearing on September 30 to provide additional details regarding the Trail Committee’s request to build a boardwalk and wildlife-viewing platform on the Benfield Conservation Land off South Street. The boardwalk would be 95 feet long and six feet wide and end with a 10 x 18-foot viewing platform overlooking Spencer Brook.
There was past concern about oil spillage from the hydraulic pile-driving equipment that will be used to construct the boardwalk. Hinton reassured the commission by saying, “The contractor has been doing this for 17 years and never had a spill yet.” The equipment consists of a gas-powered hydraulic power pack approximately the size of a small lawn tractor. It has a five-gallon reservoir for hydraulic fluid and 100 feet of hose that connects the power pack to the pile driver.
Since the boardwalk is 95 feet long, the power pack can remain on land and never be located over the stream area. The pile driver consists of a motor that attaches to the top of a pile and drives it down five feet. They then take the motor off and connect another five-foot section to the pile. This continues until adequate stability is achieved. The hoses between the power pack and pile driver are wire mesh reinforced and suitable for five times the pressure that the power pack is capable of producing. If a coupling does loosen, they are designed to be self locking and self sealing. If they become disconnected, they automatically seal themselves.
“The DEP [Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection] has yet to weigh in on this,” said Conservation Administrator Sylvia Willard. Hinton responded that they do not intend to begin construction until late November. The question was raised whether it would be possible to issue an order contingent on DEP’s approval. However Chair Kelly Guarino advised the commission that they have issued orders in the past without DEP approval. In addition, the state Natural Heritage and Endangered Species has indicated that they have no objections. Neither did any members of ConsCom and they voted 6-0 to issue a Standard Order of Conditions. ∆
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