Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority

Dulles International Airport

Concourse Questions and Answers

What is an Environmental Assessment?
An Environmental Assessment (EA) is a study under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969 to determine whether a proposed federal action has the potential to cause significant environmental impacts. An EA is a decision-making tool that analyzes the potential environmental effects of a proposed action - in this case, a new midfield concourse, automated train system and other related projects - and its alternatives. The process provides a forum to address both regulatory and public concerns, and identifies potential impacts, including: air quality; water quality; noise; compatible land use; social and socioeconomic characteristics; geology and soils; historic, architectural, archaeological, and cultural resources; biotic communities; endangered and threatened species; wetlands; floodplains; coastal zone management; coastal barriers; wild and scenic rivers; prime and unique farmland; energy; light emissions; visual aesthetics; solid waste, hazardous waste, and pollution prevention; and design, art, and architecture.

What projects at Dulles does this EA cover?
The purpose of this Environmental Assessment (EA) is to evaluate existing conditions and environmental effects for the proposed Tier 2 midfield concourse and related projects. These include the new Tier 2 Concourse, a passenger walkway between concourses, baggage tunnels, two underground airport train systems and associated tunnels, a new utilities building, and adaptations to existing facilities and utilities facilities.

What is the EA process?
This process is being conducted in several phases. The process started in 2001 with significant data collection. A draft EA was completed and as part of this process, the draft EA will be presented to the public and comments will be accepted until July 8th. Agency and public comments will be addressed in a final EA that will be issued by FAA later this summer.

This process is being conducted in several phases. The process started in 2001 with significant data collection. A draft EA was completed and as part of this process, the draft EA will be presented to the public and comments will be accepted until July 8th. Agency and public comments will be addressed in a final EA that will be issued by FAA later this summer.

When will these projects be built?
The economic uncertainties facing commercial aviation following the events of September 11th 2001, have affected the schedule for implementation of the proposed projects. Some of the projects under consideration in this Environmental Assessment will begin shortly after completion of the NEPA approval process. These projects include Apron VII, a portion of the domestic people mover system with an interim connection to Concourse C and the utility improvements needed to support these projects.

Other projects primarily related to the Tier 2 Concourse, consisting of Tier 2 itself, the International Arrivals APM, portions of the domestic APM to Tier 2, baggage tunnels, the South Utility Building and the demolition of Concourse C/D are being deferred. The Authority expects to proceed with these projects when circumstances are appropriate. Therefore, all of the projects in the Proposed Action are being retained in this environmental assessment because the Authority expects to proceed with them. For purposes of impact analysis, an aggressive schedule has been assumed, under which all projects would be completed by 2008.

How can I see the entire Final Environmental Assessment?
Copies of the Final Tier 2 Environmental Assessment are available at seven public libraries in Virginia and one in Maryland or it can be viewed and downloaded from our website.

Questions about environmental evaluation procedures:

What is NEPA?

NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) of 1969, as amended, establishes a broad national policy to improve the relationship between humans and their environment, and sets out policies and goals to ensure that environmental considerations are given careful attention and appropriate weight in decisions of the federal government.

What is an Environmental Assessment (EA)?

An EA is a public disclosure document, which analyzes various environmental impacts and alternatives to the proposed action. The purpose of the EA is to provide officials, decision-makers, and the public with an understanding of the potential environmental consequences of a proposed project. The Draft EA addresses the environmental consequences of the Proposed Action (Build Alternative) and No Build Alternative, as well as other issues including noise, air quality, water quality, endangered and threatened species and wetlands.

What is the General Conformity Determination?

In accordance with the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990, FAA has assessed whether the emissions that would result from the FAA's action in approving the proposed projects are in conformity with the State Implementation Plan (SIP). The Washington region was required to prepare a SIP, which identifies the actions necessary to meet the ozone standard.

What is a Programmatic Memorandum of Agreement?

In 1987, the Federal and State agencies entered into a Programmatic Memorandum of Agreement, which laid out historic preservation planning procedures relating to Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (NHPA). Under the terms of this agreement, MWAA carries out ongoing consultation with the Virginia State Historic Preservation Officer (VASHPO), the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) and members of the interested public, to consider the effects of their undertakings on historic properties.

What will happen to my comments?

Your comments become input to the Final Environmental Assessment and will be formally reported and addressed in the FAA's environmental documentation later this summer.

Questions about environmental consequences:

What are the proposed action projects included in this EA study?

The proposed action projects include the Tier 2 Concourse, Automated People Mover System (APM), South Utilities, and support facilities (Soil Bank). Tier 2 will replace the existing Concourse C/D that was built in 1985 as a temporary facility. The proposed APM underground train system will connect the Main Terminal and the midfield concourses, largely replacing the existing Mobile Lounge surface vehicles.

Have the events of September 11, 2001 affected the proposed Tier 2 Concourse and Related Projects?

The events of September 11, 2001 and the economic uncertainties facing commercial aviation have affected the timing of the proposed Tier 2 Concourse and Related Projects. MWAA has determined that some of the projects in the proposed action will commence shortly after the completion of the NEPA approval processes. Other projects are being deferred, principally for economic circumstances. For the purposes of the EA, all of the projects in the Proposed Action should be viewed as proposed for construction. Therefore, even the deferred projects are being evaluated on environmental grounds in this assessment.

Will wetlands be affected by the Tier 2 Concourse and Related Projects?

Approximately 26 acres of wetlands may be altered as a result of the implementation of Tier 2. MWAA has submitted a Joint permit Application to the Virginia Department of Environment Quality for Tier 2. These wetlands will be replaced by new wetlands that are being created through the Airports Authority's Wetland Banking Program.

Will Rare, Threatened, and Endangered Species be affected by the Tier 2 Concourse and Related Projects?

Four species, the Upland Sandpiper (VA State threatened species), the Hairy Beardtongue and White Heath Aster (both VA State rare species), and the Wood turtle (VA State threatened species) were either observed or documented at Dulles Airport. Activities from the implementation of Tier 2 will not have a significant impact on any known or suspected threatened and endangered species.

Will the Tier 2 Concourse and Related Projects impact air quality?

Air emission sources at Dulles Airport include stationary sources (e.g., heating equipment, emergency generators) and mobile sources (e.g., mobile lounges, traffic). Air emissions will be within the air quality permit limitations.

Will the Tier 2 Concourse and Related Projects impact water quality?

Water quality will be protected from the Tier 2 activities by managing stormwater runoff with Best Management Practices and the Soil Erosion and Sediment Control Plan.

Will the Tier 2 Concourse and Related Projects impact cultural resources at Dulles Airport?

Tier 2 Concourse and Related Projects were found to have "No Adverse Effect" on the cultural resources at Dulles Airport. This conditional determination was agreed to by the Virginia State Historic Protection Officer (SHPO) and is documented in a signed "Statement of Concurrence" dated 11 March 02.

Will the Tier 2 Concourse and Related Projects affect noise in the surrounding community?

The proposed projects are not expected to result in an increase in airport operations (types and number of aircraft used, runway layout, and runway utilization). The number of people in the surrounding communities that live and work within the area influenced by the noise contours is not anticipated to increase as a result of these projects. Therefore, no noise impacts are expected to occur as a direct result of the implementation of the proposed projects.

Will the Tier 2 Concourse and Related Projects have an impact on the surrounding communities?

Overall, the proposed projects are not expected to cause adverse social or socioeconomic impact on the communities surrounding the airport. Since the proposed projects involve construction located entirely within the airport proper, the projects will not result in the relocation of residences and businesses or disrupt established communities or planned development. The Tier 2 improvement projects will not affect noise levels, and therefore would have no impact on nearby schools, hospitals, and places of public assembly.

Will the Tier 2 Concourse and Related Projects increase traffic?

Traffic is not expected to increase as a result of the Tier 2 Concourse and Related Projects. The proposed projects are intended to replace existing facilities and enhance services that are currently provided at Dulles Airport.

What is happening with the proposed new runway?

This public information session is not addressing the proposed runway, but if you would like information on this topic, a Public Scoping Workshop for the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for Proposed New Runways & Associated Improvements is going to be held on Wednesday, June 26, 2002 (5 - 8 PM) at Westfield High School, 4700 Stonecroft Blvd., Chantilly, VA and Thursday, June 27, 2002 (5 - 8 PM) at Farmwell Station Middle School, 44281 Gloucester Parkway, Ashburn, VA.