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7 Summary of Impacts - Proposed Action, Routine Operations: Physical Environment and Human Health
Physiography and Geology
Geologic processes associated with the TAPS are expected to be confined to localized areas near the TAPS. Destruction of vegetation cover, erosion, and siltation would be localized and would not increase over levels seen historically during TAPS operations. An increase in oil throughput could expand thaw bulbs and result in ground settlement near the TAPS. A reduction in throughput could result in frost heaves.
Less than 100,000 yd3/yr of sand, gravel, and quarry stone would be extracted for maintenance.
Surface Water and Groundwater
Impacts to surface water from routine operations would be small and local, and not produce a large impact on any single water body. However, spills could produce substantial contamination if they occur over or near surface water.
Impacts to groundwater quality from routine operations would be small and local but an oil spill, depending on its size, location, and the effectiveness of response activities, could create local small to very large impacts.
Most spills from the Valdez Marine Terminal would be local and impacts short-lived. However, a very unlikely large spill from the Valdez Marine Terminal could have large impacts over up to 2 miles of shoreline.
Air quality impacts from routine operations are generally expected to be local, temporary, and small, and within regulatory limits for the TAPS and federal and state air quality standards. Impacts on air quality from spills, including those associated with a spill involving a fire, would pose health risks for people within the immediate area of the spill. These impacts would rapidly diminish with distance from the spill and with time after the spill.
Human Health and Safety
Over a 30-year renewal period, the total anticipated number of worker fatalities would be approximately six. The estimated annual numbers of recordable injuries would be 125-153, and lost time injuries would be 76-92. Health risk to the public would be small, though individuals who remain in the vicinity of a spill or fire or eat noticeably spill-impacted fish could be adversely affected.
For More Information
More information about the impacts to the physical environment from routine operations under the proposed action is available in the FEIS Volume 3, Sections 4.1 - 4.6, Proposed Action Alternative Analysis - Routine Operations.
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