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Vectren strives to protect and preserve the beautiful lands that host our facilities and carry our pipelines and power lines. We balance environmental responsibility and our customers' needs for affordable, reliable energy by effectively managing the environmental impact of our gas and electric operations.
Vectren Conservation Park
Manufactured Gas Plants (MGP)
Vectren Conservation Park In 1999, Vectren, through one of its predecessor companies, purchased 1,100 acres of river bottomland along the Wabash River in Gibson County. The property had been cultivated historically for agricultural purposes, but crops were frequently flooded due to its immediate proximity to the river. Vectren purchased the property and placed a permanent conservation easement on the property and enrolled it in the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service's Wetlands Reserve Program under a conservation easement. This conservation easement permanently restricts any development on or agricultural use of the property.
In 2007, Vectren entered into a long-term lease with the University of Evansville to establish the University of Evansville Environmental Research Site, an outdoor classroom that provides invaluable learning opportunities for students and researchers in the environmental sciences.
To date, Vectren has planted 120,000 trees and 14,000 native shrubs on the property. The site is characterized by a complex of meadow, prairie, riparian and floodplain forests along with aquatic habitats including ponds and wetlands. Once the trees reach maturity, the property will serve valuable carbon sequestration functions and act as a local carbon "sink" to help absorb carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas.
Why are former MGP sites a concern?
Most of these plants have been closed for at least 50 years, and in some cases over 100 years. In many cases, subsequent redevelopment of the MGP sites has removed or covered wastes that were exposed at the surface. However, these sites often contain abandoned underground structures and pipes containing coal tar or other MGP residuals. Some of these waste materials (especially coal tars) may have migrated from existing/former structures and may be present in the subsurface.
To date, remedial activities have been completed at 15 of the 31 MGP sites. In 2005, Vectren completed a $2 million clean-up of the former manufactured gas plant site located near the Terre Haute, Indiana riverfront and Vectren's operations center. Supplemental investigations and clean-up plans are underway for the remaining sites. Some recently completed clean-up efforts throughout Indiana include Evansville, Liberty, Seymour, Muncie, and Washington.
Quality Tree Care & Trimming
In order to protect electric infrastructure, prevent outages and protect the public, Vectren must trim and maintain the foliage in and around power lines. Vectren has permission to trim trees in the communities it serves through franchise and easement agreements. However, we always make it a point to give proper notification to property owners about our tree trimming activities before the process begins.
To do this trimming properly, Vectren uses pruning practices that are recommended by the National Arbor Day Foundation, which are described in "Pruning Trees Near Electric Utility Lines: A Field Pocket Guide For Qualified Line-Clearance Tree Workers" by Dr. Alex L. Shigo.
These practices avoid topping, tipping, removing branch collars and leaving long stubs. Proper tree care ultimately increases reliability of service by maintaining healthy trees with less decay and structural weakness, resulting in fewer downed power lines during storms. Pruning methods are monitored for safety, environmental impact and costs.
When trimming trees, Vectren follows these tips and encourages property owners to do so as well.
- Cut as close as possible to the branch collar: A ring, or "doughnut", of living tissue will form around a correct cut after one growing season.
- Do not leave stubs: they are entry courts for rot-causing fungi.
- Make cuts at nodes, which are the place where a branch meets another branch or the trunk. Making cuts between nodes leads to excessive sprouting, cracks and rot.
Since 2009, Vectren has annually received the Tree Line USA Utility designation by the National Arbor Day Foundation for its commitment to public education about the importance of trees and quality tree care. Vectren was recognized for its tree-friendly efforts, including:
- training tree trimming crews about proper tree pruning practices;
- educating the public about appropriate tree species for planting near utility lines;
- educating customers about energy efficient landscapes to reduce home cooling and heating;
- sharing proper tree-pruning practices with customers; and
- sponsoring community tree planting programs and/or participating in Arbor Day events.