Quarry Landfill Capping Progress

What steps have been taken?

Since Spring 2022, when DEQ convened a panel of experts to help identify steps that will mitigate the odor from the quarry landfill, Bristol, Virginia has been engaged in the process of completing these steps with the assistance of a variety of experts, engineers, and area contractors.  This work is in addition to the prior efforts at the quarry landfill and is anticipated to result in “capping” of the quarry landfill.

These steps build atop Bristol, Virginia’s prior efforts:

  • The City contracted SCS Field Services to upgrade the quarry landfill gas extraction and dewatering systems by installing new pipes, collectors, and headers in an effort to mitigate odors and emissions identified in the southeast portion of the quarry landfill;
  • Charles R. Underwood, Inc., was hired to replace leachate and gradient pumps within the wet well at the quarry landfill to promote enhanced leachate collection and treatment operations; and
  • Installed 21 new gas extraction wells during Q4 of 2021.

In acting on the recommendations of the DEQ Panel Report, Bristol, Virginia is also undertaking a variety of actions including:

  • Installation of a sidewall odor mitigation system began in December 2022 and is continuing to progress;
  • Comprehensive monitoring of temperature, gas, and water in and around the quarry landfill;
  • Installation of additional gas wells to pull gas and liquid from the quarry landfill;
  • Implementation of a stormwater monitoring system; and
  • Ultimate capping of the quarry landfill with a geomembrane cap that will further stop gases from escaping.

The quarry landfill stopped accepting waste as of September 9, 2022. Since then, the City completed installation of a dirt cover on October 10, 2022 and invited Bristol, TN representatives to inspect the installation of the cover. The inspection took place on October 11, 2022. The City is continuing to monitor and maintain the soil cover and began the seeding the landfill in November 2022.

Capping a landfill is a multi-step process that can include the use of clay, sand and gravel, a geomembrane and soil, concrete, or asphalt to begin transitioning a waste area to its next use or phase. In this case, the City is utilizing soil as the main ground cover and evaluating its options for long-term solutions or uses. To learn more about the capping process from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) website, click here.

In addition to the installation of a dirt cover, on September 30, 2022 the City accepted a bid from drilling contractor Connelly & Associates, Inc. related to the installation of the dedicated temperature monitoring system for the quarry landfill. Bristol chose Connelly & Associates, which was one of two contractors to submit a response to the bid, during the City’s second request for proposals for the installation.  Connelly & Associates completed the installation work for the temperature monitoring system by the anticipated December 31, 2022 deadline.

Recent Work

Perforated pipe being buried in gravel filled trench that will extract gas along the sidewall.

Geomembrane (black panel) that will wrap around the sidewall gas collection system, providing a seal that prevents the release of odorous gases.

Shotcrete applied on quarry wall to seal cracks in rock that can convey odorous gases.

What further steps will be taken?

On a recommendation from the Expert Panel that convened in March 2022, SCS Engineers designed a sidewall odor mitigation system for the quarry landfill.  SCS Engineers reviewed the design with VA Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and two experts who sat on the panel. The work for the sidewall odor mitigation system was awarded to SCS Field Services, with work beginning on the system in December 2022. Work on the initial 222 feet of the system remains underway; once the initial 222 feet is complete, construction of the sidewall system for the remainder of the landfill will continue. The initial 222 feet of work will be isolated in order to collect data and ensure the system is working as designed.

The City will be conducting regular inspections and monitoring for erosion, cracking, or holes to document the locations and rates of settlement within the quarry landfill in order to make repairs as needed. Groundwater monitoring wells will also be placed around the quarry landfill to help determine if any leaks are present.

Currently, the City of Bristol is:

  • Actively monitoring well head temperatures, stormwater, and leachate as well as measuring gas emissions;
  • Calibrating the installed temperature probes in the temperature monitoring system, which now includes a combination of thermistors and thermocouples, to give additional accurate information about the status of the quarry landfill;
  • Constructing the sidewall odor and gas mitigation system; and
  • Continuing to communicate developments and updates at the quarry landfill with both the Virginia and Tennessee communities.

We continue to work with governing agencies including Virginia’s Office of Attorney General, the Virginia DEQ and the EPA to comply with legal orders and regulatory requirements. We also continue to update the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia on our progress as part of the fulfillment of a preliminary injunction.

What is the timeline of activity?

  • January 2021
    • Engineering consultants Draper Aden Associates and SCS Engineers designed expansion of and improvement to gas collection system in the southwest corner of the quarry landfill.
  • Mid-2021
    • Due to continuing issues with odor mitigation, Draper Aden designed a new odor mitigation plan including the installation of 21 new gas extraction wells, bringing the total number of such wells to 38. Solution failed to mitigate odors emanating from the landfill.
  • January 3, 2022
    • City Manager Randy Eads requested assistance in finding solutions from Virginia DEQ and the EPA.
  • March 2022
    • City Manager’s request results in convening of expert panel by DEQ to discuss and propose solutions to mitigate odors.
  • April 25, 2022
    • Expert panel report produced.
  • June 2022
    • Per the report, Bristol began installing intermediate cover. SCS Engineers design and put to bid a dedicated system of temperature probes.
  • August 2022
    • Bristol hired expert panel member to design and consult on the odor mitigation systems recommended by the expert panel.
  • August – October 2022
    • Negotiations between engineers, DEQ, and the city leads to consensus on a timeline to complete recommended actions from the report, such as:
      • Cease acceptance of waste (Completed September 9, 2022)
      • Installation of intermediate cover (Completed October 10, 2022)
      • Installation of a dedicated thermocouple system temperature probe system (Installation to be complete by December 31, 2022)
      • Sidewall odor mitigation system (Design out to bid November, 7 2022. Construction to begin December 2022 with initial 220 feet of the system complete by December 31, 2022. Construction to continue through 2023 with anticipated completion by June 14, 2023.)
      • Leachate extraction & monitoring (Plan submitted November 1, 2022. Report on sampling and analysis begins December 1, 2022.)
      • Gas collection systems (Design to be put to bid December 2022. Installation to be completed by June 20, 2023.)
      • Perimeter gas collection system near sidewalls (Installation to begin by March 15, 2023.)
      • Develop Stormwater Plan (Once all remediation actions are completed, a temporary synthetic membrane will be installed over the landfill. Includes construction of storm water basin before installation of Ethylene Vinal Alcohol cover.)

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