Large-Scale In-Situ Solidification/Stabilization Remedial Activities During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Ron Hager, Project Manager, Burns & McDonnell
Co-Authors: Scott Myers, EIT, ASP, Project Manager and Senior Environmental Engineer, and BBen Clement, R.G., C.P., Senior Geologist, Burns & McDonnell
In 2020, Burns & McDonnell performed oversight of remedial activities at a former manufactured gas plant (MGP) site managed under the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency’s Site Remediation Program and in accordance with Illinois Tiered Approach to Correction Action (TACO). In-situ solidification/stabilization (ISS) was selected as the remedy to address the presence of non-aqueous phase liquids (NAPL) and elevated concentrations of volatile organic compounds, semi-volatile organic compounds and inorganics in soil and groundwater, within multiple stratigraphic units. The scheduled start of ISS activities corresponded directly with the onset of the global COVID-19 pandemic. After evaluating potential risks, the Client decided to proceed with implementation of remedial activities at this site during the pandemic. Special planning and methodology adjustments were required to continue working and complete large-scale ISS activities amid pandemic related restrictions/limitations. To accomplish this, the Client requested all on-site workers to follow both Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines and separate, client-issued COVID-19 guidelines. Enacted guidelines established a protocol to be followed and enforced at the Site daily to protect those participating in field activities and any site visitors, and were updated throughout the project, as appropriate. Many changes were incorporated into the schedule to allow for delays in materials, shipping, and the potential for labor shortages. Good communication with the local labor union provided an abundance of labor and the ability to replace workers who were quarantined during the project. Additionally, travel restrictions required careful consideration for essential personnel traveling to the Site from other areas and travel during holidays. Ultimately, good teamwork, excellent communication, comprehensive guidelines, and respect for each other’s individual concerns allowed for successful completion of the project.
Mr. Hager has 20 years of experience managing and performing civil and geo-environmental engineering and construction related programs and projects. His experience includes program and project managing, project engineering, construction management, and report preparation. Ron has 20 years of civil, geotechnical, geo-environmental and construction-related experience in waste disposal landfills and impoundments with a focus on coal combustion residuals (CCRs) Ron's expertise includes the permitting, design and closure of CCR facilities. Prior to joining BMcD, he directed engineering programs at numerous CCR facilities in the South and Midwest. He routinely manages the permitting, design, and construction of projects related to CCR, solid waste, former manufactured gas plant remediation, water/wastewater, storm water management and oil and gas. He has experience with state and federal permitting requirements and regularly deals with regulatory agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), USACE, TDEC, and the Department of Natural Resources (across the Midwest states).