Appalachian Power to use helicopters to maintain some power line rights of way

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Beginning on or about June 1, Appalachian Power will maintain the rights of way for some power lines in West Virginia by applying herbicides by helicopter. Some of these areas include:

  • Nuttall-Quinwood 138 kV – A transmission line on steel structures beginning at the Nuttall Station near Lookout, running east, crossing Midland Trail Road and ending at the Quinwood Station.
  • Grassy Falls-Quinwood 138 kV – A transmission line on steel structures beginning at Quinwood Station, running northwest and ending at the Rt. 20 road crossing.

“The company generally makes aerial maintenance applications only in less populated areas where terrain and accessibility make it difficult for ground-based crews to safely clear rights of way,” said Travis Klinebriel, utility forester. Rights of way in populated areas, as well as near parks, ponds and other sensitive areas are maintained by other means.

Customers with questions about the company’s aerial maintenance program can call a toll-free number, 1-800-642-3622, for information. Customers also can write for information at Appalachian Power, Attn: Transmission Forestry, P.O. Box 1986, Charleston, WV 25327.

“Herbicides used by AEP have been registered for use on rights of way by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the West Virginia Department of Agriculture (WVDoA),” Klinebriel said. Herbicides to be used are glyphosate, imazapyr, metsulfuron methyl, fosamine, triclopyr, aminocyclopyrachlor and aminopyralid. Each has been extensively tested by the manufacturer, colleges and governmental and independent research laboratories.

Rigid EPA and WVDoA restrictions and regulations are carefully observed by Appalachian Power contractors in applying herbicides. All areas to be treated are visually checked by helicopter pilots in advance to verify the location of any sensitive areas and to ensure that people or domestic animals are not visible in the area to be maintained. All applications are made by contractors who are certified applicators. Questions concerning these herbicides may be addressed to the EPA and the WVDoA.

Right of way maintenance agreements between Appalachian Power and landowners are available to landowners who prefer to accept responsibility for clearing the right of way crossing their property in lieu of aerial application of herbicides.

The agreement compensates the landowner by an amount equivalent to the cost of aerial herbicide application, provided the work meets Appalachian’s specifications.

Residents who have questions about the program or who want to alert the company to the location of sensitive areas near power lines, such as springs, wells, streams, lakes, ponds, orchards, crop areas, gardens, pastures, meadows, year-round dwellings, public recreation areas and Christmas tree plantations, should also contact the company. To prevent any misunderstanding about the location of the sensitive areas being reported, the number of the nearest pole or tower should be provided. Numbers are posted on utility poles and on one leg of utility towers.

After the maintenance program begins, a 24-hour telephone service at the above number will provide information daily on locations scheduled for maintenance.

Complaints about possible damage resulting from herbicide applications should be made by contacting Appalachian Power at its toll-free number or the above addresses. Complaints also may be directed to the WVDoA, Pesticide Regulatory Programs Unit, which can be reached in Charleston at 304-558-2209.