Cable to get plastic sleeve

Fri, 03/24/2017 - 10:15am
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National Grid will address issues associated with a section of its sea2shore cable about 200 feet offshore from Town Beach by installing a sleeve over the length of cable not buried at the proper depth.

The proposed solution still needs approval from the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management and the Coastal Resources Management Council, which will occur after National Grid reviews the data culled from tests done near the area of the section not buried deep enough.

“National Grid will commence the installation of a split sleeve cable protection around March 26, and anticipates completing the work in mid-April,” said Michael Masseur, a spokesman for National Grid.

Darlene Masse, a spokesperson for National Grid, said, “The split pipe cable protection system is designed to protect the submarine cable from external aggression and abrasion. It provides a level of impact resistance to reduce the risk of dropped object damage such as anchoring impacts. The split pipe system will also provide stability for long-term protection of the cable.”

During installation of the utility company’s sea2shore submarine cable in June of 2016, a hard seabed 200 feet from shore prevented the cable from being installed at the required six-foot depth for an 80-foot stretch. As a result, National Grid needed to come up with a creative solution since reinstallation on an impenetrable surface was a non-starter. The cable needs an extra layer of protection because it is emitting an electromagnetic field that may attract unwanted marine life to the beach.

The solution, according to David Campilii, National Grid Engineer and Underground Cable Engineering Specialist, includes installing a protective sleeve that is to be wrapped around the cable. Campilii said divers will install the protective sleeve in chest deep waters using water jets to unearth, and rebury it. Campilii was on-island on Feb. 28 performing an electromagnetic field survey per request of DEM and CRMC to determine if the cable’s levels were permissible.

“National Grid is working with the town (of New Shoreham) with respect to access to National Grid’s easement area in order to perform the work,” said Masseur.

The easement was noted on the Town Council’s March 15 agenda: “Discuss and act on second amendment to temporary easement assigned to National Grid for work area at the Town Beach.” That discussion was to be held in closed session, but had to be tabled because the Town Solicitor was not in attendance.

As for the EMF survey that National Grid performed in February, Masseur said, “The EMF field measurements have been completed in a near-shore area off Crescent Beach, and the findings are being reviewed and analyzed. Once the analysis is complete, National Grid will review the data with the appropriate agencies to determine a course of action.” 

Those agencies are the DEM and CRMC, which are responsible for granting approval for the work to be done at Town Beach. They have not yet reviewed data from the survey; needed to grant approval. Campilii said the CRMC could view the protective sleeve as a “temporary solution,” and may require a “monitoring program” for the cable.