Virginia leachate cleanup to cost $1.9 million

The ongoing leachate problem at the regional landfill in Suffolk, Virginia, is estimated to cost $1.9 million to fix. The Southeastern Public Service Authority (SPSA), Chesapeake, Virginia, authorized the contracts during a special meeting April 12.

The contracts include $138,000 to Conley Environmental of Chesapeake to improve more than a mile of roadway inside the landfill to accommodate tanker trucks and up to $1.8 million to Atlantic Heating & Cooling of Virginia Beach to haul 200,000 gallons of leachate per day over a five-month period that began May 1.

The leachate will be brought to four Hampton Roads Sanitation District treatment plants at a 6-cent-per-gallon rate.

The contracts allow the first phase of the cleanup process, which is estimated to take about five months, to begin.

More than 30 million gallons of leachate were found accumulated in two active cells of the landfill in late January, with 60,000 to 70,000 gallons more being generated each day. As much as 80 million gallons of leachate may be removed and the SPSA eventually may have to build its own treatment facility, according to reports.

The SPSA is currently pumping 50,000 gallons of the liquid per day through a sewer line to the sanitation district’s Nansemond plant in northern Suffolk, but it decided to bump up the removal rate to 250,000 gallons per day by adding truck hauling to the process.

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality allows no more than 1 foot of leachate build up. The landfill housed about 30 feet of liquid. It could take a year before leachate is at that level.

Michigan and Ohio landfills to accept contaminated materials

The Army Corps of Engineers says in its March newsletter that it plans to dispose of contaminated material removed from the former Brush Beryllium site near Luckey, Ohio, at the Waste Management Evergreen Landfill in Northwood, Ohio, and the U.S. Ecology Landfill in Wayne, Michigan.

According to a report in The Press, the Corps has identified soils contaminated with six substances, beryllium, lead, radium-226, thorium-230, uranium-234 and uranium-238, as needing to be excavated and disposed off-site.

The article also states the Corps is estimating the cost will be closer to $244 million, much higher than its initial estimate of $59.4 million. The higher cost, the report states, is because of an increase in the estimated amount of contaminated soil. Two buildings at the site will reportedly have to be removed to fully address the contamination. The Corps estimates 137,467 cubic yards of soil need to be excavated, including about 7,600 cubic yards of adjacent clean soil.

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Another 47,858 cubic yards of contaminated building debris may also be removed, the report says.

The Corps held a meeting March 28 for residents in the Luckey area to view plans for cleaning up the plant.

The Press says the site was used to process beryllium in the early 1950s, and the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) sent about 1,000 tons of radioactive scrap metal there for processing magnesium. Beryllium scrap containing some radioactive materials from other AEC operations also reportedly was sent to Luckey for reprocessing.

The current property owner, Industrial Properties Recovery LLC (IPR), an industrial scrapping business, purchased the property in 2006 and began demolishing several buildings. According to the report, the Ohio Department of Health ordered IPR to cease the demolition of buildings and handling of any radioactive material in December 2006.

The site also was deemed a public health and safety concern by The Wood County Health District. The Wood County Common Pleas Court issued an injunction against IPR in June 2009, which required the company to either demolish or make necessary repairs to site structures and salvage or properly dispose of all debris, The Press article states.

The company reportedly resumed demolition and salvage activities in late 2013. Later that year, the health department issued another order for the company to cease the removal of material from the site unless it has been confirmed as not having radioactive contamination.

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency issued an order to halt demolition of site buildings in January 2014 until the company complied with state asbestos and air quality regulations.