Draft Environmental Assessment, Permanent Electric Barrier I

Published April 2, 2013

Draft Environmental Assessment, Permanent Barrier I, Lockport Pool, Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal (CSSC), Will County, Illinois, April 2, 2013. Prepared in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 and for the proposed construction of electric Permanent Barrier I, an upgrade of the electric Demonstration Barrier. The purpose of the barriers is to deter the movement of  Asian carp and other fish species from the Mississippi River to the Great Lakes Basin via the CSSC.

Currently, there are three electrical barriers: Demonstration Barrier, Barrier IIA and Barrier IIB.

The barriers are formed of steel electrodes that are secured to the bottom of the CSSC. The electrodes are connected to a raceway, consisting of electrical connections to a control building. Equipment in the control building generates a direct current pulse through the electrodes, creating an electric field in the water that discourages fish from crossing.

The Demonstration Barrier has been operational since 2002 and was rehabilitated in 2008, but it was designed and built with materials that were not intended for long-term use due to its demonstration status.

Permanent Barrier I will incorporate the lessons learned from the operation of the Demonstration Barrier, Barrier IIA, and Barrier IIB in its design to improve durability and effectiveness. It will be capable of generating higher voltages and work in concert with Barriers IIA and IIB.

The mechanical components that make up the barriers need to be maintained to properly function. Periodic shutdowns of the individual barriers are required in order to perform necessary tasks such as replacement of parts, tune-ups, cleaning, etc., therefore, multiple barriers are needed so at least one barrier can be active when other barriers are offline for maintenance.