What is the Giles Cumberland Park Project?
The Giles Cumberland Park Project is a land improvement project which will create a 7-acre commercial building site along Rt. 460 in Narrows, Va. The development site will be created above the flood plain, using a combination of compacted recycled coal ash and soil.
Who benefits from the Project?
The property was purchased by the Giles Partnership for Excellence, a non-profit economic development organization, for $100,000 in 2006. The land value when developed and brought to grade with Rt. 460 is expected to appreciate substantially. When sold, net proceeds from the land development will be rolled back into the community, through the schools, and/or other applications to help create much needed jobs.
Is the Cumberland Park Project environmentally sound?
Yes. Two large mid-Atlantic engineering firms, Draper Aden Associates and Schnabel Engineering, through rigorous field testing and due diligence, have designed this project to protect the environment. The engineering process took more than 18 months to complete and specified strict construction and quality control requirements that must be followed during all phases of construction. The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality approved these plans on Aug. 1, 2007.
Have projects of this type been completed elsewhere in Virginia?
To date, 15 projects have been permitted in Virginia, some alongside streams and waterways. They now are golf courses, recreational parks, industrial parks and commercial development. Two projects are already located in Giles County, and another is located in Vinton.
I thought this land was in the flood plain. Is that not so?
It was. However, a protective berm was constructed prior to any ash being placed thereby taking the project out of the 100 year flood plain. When the project is complete and protective berms are in place, the newly created land will be above the 100-year flood plan, as certified by FEMA.
What other safeguards above and beyond the regulations have been included?
*Two monitoring wells allow for testing of groundwater at the site.
*The project is required to be two feet above the seasonal high water table; ours will be six feet above it.
*The soil cover material is required to be 18” thick; ours will be two feet thick.
*Additional random testing of the ash will conducted to be certain it meets DEQ standards.
Why is there no liner at the site?
Both the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Virginia Department of Environmental Quality have determined that a properly designed structural fill site poses little risk to the environment and does not require a liner. A landfill, which requires a liner, is designed to contain large volumes of material of unknown origin and toxicity.
What Properly Designed and Constructed Structural Fill Is Not
- A properly designed and constructed structural fill is not a “dump”. CCBs are placed in lifts with compaction tested to rigorous standards. Rigorous testing of the CCBs for any potential leaching has defined only trace amounts of metals.
- Not a Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) landfill as site will only contain Glen Lyn CCBs, a product which has remained the same over the last 80 years. MSW sites will frequently contain a variety of chemical substances.
- Structural Fills are an example of recycling and utilization within the framework of the regulations.
Design Protects the Sight from Inundation
- The closest CCB material will be placed to the New River is 280 feet with an average distance of 400 feet. The required minimum setback as set forth by VA DEQ is 100 feet.
- The controlled placement of a protective soil berm will protect the site from inundation from river flows associated with a 100 year flood during construction and for project life.
- The soil berm is armored with a special anchor reinforced vegetative barrier. This exterior berm armor is designed to be aesthetically pleasing with vegetation, yet durable enough to withstand river flow velocities associated with the 100 year event. (Includes additional safety factors).
Design Protects the New River from Contamination
- Engineering practices such as silt fence, sedimentation ponds, diversion ditches, and vegetative controls will be utilized as per the Erosion and Sediment Control Plan to ensure only clear stormwater discharge.
- A separation interval of six feet will be maintained from groundwater.
- Even if contact water could find a way to leave the site it is nontoxic with TCLP testing only showing trace metals concentrations at or near federal drinking water standards. TCLP concentrations that are above these standards are orders of magnitude below Federal RCRA hazardous waste concentrations levels.
Headwaters is a national leader in the management of coal combustion by-products (CCB) which is also known as coal combustion product (CCP). They manage and utilize approximately 20 million tons of CCP annually, in almost every state in the country.
To quote Thomas C. Schmaltz, Ph.D. Headwaters Corporate Environmental Director...
- “ These projects, fully regulated by the VDEQ and other agencies, continue to help realize the U.S. EPA sponsored Coal Combustion Products Partnership objective of utilizing 50% of all CCP by 2011.”
- “This project will help meet this goal as well as benefit the environment by conserving land that would otherwise be disturbed to provide fill materials, as well as conserve valuable landfill space.”
Dr. Schmaltz further states:
- “As with other successful structural fill projects in the New River Valley and surrounding area that have utilized AEP’s Glen Lyn Coal Combustion Products (CCP’s) and were constructed by Headwaters, the proposed Cumberland Park Project will demand and receive the expert knowledge and experience that Headwaters has utilized on structural fills throughout Virginia the nation."
- This knowledge and experience will be supported by third party Professional Engineers, quality assurance professionals, specific VDEQ environmental regulations and various other regulatory agencies.
Draper Aden Associates (DAA)…recognized as a leader among engineering consulting firms across the Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern regions of the United States.
- Provide civil, environmental, geotechnical, and structural engineering; surveying and subsurface utility engineering; site planning and engineering; solid waste management; transportation planning; and Landscape architecture.
- Engineering News-Record listed DAA as one of the Top 500 Design Firms in the country in their April 24, 2006 issue.”
- Cumberland Park structural fill project design specifications and drawings exceed what is mandated by State law.
- Assisted by Schnabel Engineering, another national firm specializing in geotechnical engineering and design.