Beginning on or about Thursday, June 1, weather permitting, Appalachian Power will maintain the rights-of-way for some power lines in West Virginia by applying herbicides by helicopter.
“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.”
“Herbicides used by AEP and Appalachian Power 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. “EPA and WVDoA restrictions and regulations are carefully observed by certified contractors when applying herbicides.”
Herbicides to be used are imazapyr, metsulfuron methyl, fosamine, triclopyr, aminocyclopyrachlor and aminopyralid. The manufacturer, colleges and governmental and independent research laboratories have extensively tested each. Questions concerning these herbicides may be addressed to the EPA and the WVDoA.
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.
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 instead of the company’s 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 Power’s specifications.
Customers with questions about the company’s aerial maintenance program can call a toll-free number (1-800-642-3622) for information. Appalachian Power customers also can write for details at Appalachian Power, Attn: Transmission Forestry, 404 29th Street, West, Charleston, W.Va. 25387.
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. The nearest pole or tower number should be provided to prevent any misunderstanding about the location of the sensitive areas being reported. 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 address. Complaints also may be directed to the WVDoA’s Pesticide Regulatory Programs Unit, which can be reached at 304-558-2209.
Lines scheduled for maintenance include:
Clay County – Belva-Clendenin 46kV – A transmission line on wood poles beginning at the Belva Station near Vaughan Road in Vaughn, running north and northwest, passing the midpoints of Vaughan, Greendale, Fola, Bickmore, Hartland, Elkhurst, Porter, Queen Shoals and Turner and ending at the Clendenin Station near Maywood Avenue West in Clendenin.