BRISTOL, Va. — An 11-member panel with a diverse range of landfill design, problem-solving, and geotechnical expertise has been appointed to review the city’s landfill problems and prescribe potential solutions.
The panel, established this month by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), is tasked with meeting with city leaders and their contractors and then “providing practical recommendations for the city to address the odor problem,” according to DEQ.
Panel members are due to meet with city officials and its contractors SCS Engineers and Draper Aden Associates on March 21-22.
The current schedule, according to DEQ, includes a draft report that is expected to be submitted to the panel by April 4. April 11 is the deadline for class members to provide feedback to Virginia Tech. The final report must be completed by April 25.
Organized by DEQ and supported by emergency funds, the panel is led by Mark A. Widdowson, Ph.D., Professor and Department Head of the Charles E. Via, Jr. Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, College of Engineering at Virginia Tech.
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Widdowson joined the Tech faculty in 1993 with a focus on groundwater. According to the University.
His research expertise includes the transport of contaminants, including PCBs and benzene, in groundwater and soil.
Other panel members, in alphabetical order, include:
Robert C. Bachus, Principal Principal Engineer of GeoSyntec Consultants, a global consulting and engineering firm with a combined staff of 1,700 engineers, scientists, and related technical and project support personnel with more than 90 offices in the United States, in Canada and the United Kingdom, Ireland, Sweden, the United Arab Emirates and Australia.
Bachus, who is based in Georgia, has 30 years of professional experience focused on geotechnical engineering, geo-environmental engineering, and waste by-product characterization. His specialties include waste containment facility planning and design, site survey and remediation. His areas of practice include contaminated site assessment, cleanup and waste management, according to his company profile.
Craig H. Benson, Hamilton Endowed Chair in Engineering at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. Benson served as Dean of UVa’s School of Engineering and Applied Science from 2015 to 2021.
Benson’s research in geo-environmental engineering includes the design and evaluation of environmental containment systems for municipal, hazardous, and radioactive waste; reuse and recycling of industrial by-products for sustainable construction applications and sustainability assessment of geological and civil engineering systems.
Benson visited the municipal landfill in January and gave the city council a preliminary look at the issues a few weeks ago.
Eric D. Chiado is vice president of Civil & Environmental Consultants, Inc., a Pittsburgh-based company with 30 locations in the United States. Chiado has 33 years of engineering and management experience in the design, authorization and construction of municipal and industrial waste disposal facilities. He has provided comprehensive design, permitting and management services to the waste industry, including the preparation of detailed landfill grading/filling plans and details, landfill liner system design and analysis. , leachate collection, transmission, storage and pumping systems, gas extraction and destruction/utilization systems and sediment and stormwater management systems. He also prepared closure and post-closure plans for these facilities, according to his corporate biography.
Robert B. Gardner is senior vice president of SCS Engineers, a Virginia-based company that has been consulting on the city landfill for more than a year. Gardner leads the company’s national solid waste management practice, including landfill engineering, landfill gas management, solid waste studies, landfill environmental systems, liquids management, l operation and maintenance and construction. He works closely with national and regional SCS customers.
John T. Novak is Professor Emeritus in the Charles E. Via, Jr. Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, College of Engineering at Virginia Tech. Novak has worked in civil and environmental engineering and his research career has focused on the treatment of water, wastewater, municipal solid waste and hazardous waste. He is a recognized expert in research on bioflocculation in wastewater treatment, covering the activated sludge process, anaerobic digestion, dewatering, transport and storage of biosolids, according to his profile.
Tony Sperling is an engineer and president of Sperling Hansen Associates, a company based in Vancouver, British Columbia, specializing in solid waste management and providing engineered and custom-engineered solutions for private and municipal clients since 1995, according to the site. Company website.
Sperling is a landfill design specialist with a doctorate in geotechnical engineering. Over the past 18 years, he has managed or participated as a principal engineer in more than 750 projects involving engineering design, landfill development and closure, hydrogeotechnical investigations, environmental monitoring studies and other solid waste projects for municipal and private sector clients. He specialized in the design of landfill closures.
Timothy D. Stark, Ph.D., professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with expertise in geotechnical engineering. Dr. Stark has conducted research on landfills with and without high temperatures for the past 25 years and the stability of waste containment. For the past 15 years, he has studied the causes and effects of high temperatures in various types of landfills, possible remedial measures, and the long-term durability of geosynthetics subjected to high temperatures, according to his profile.
Todd Thalhamer is a civil engineer and president of Hammer Consulting Services of California, a senior waste management engineer for CalRecycle, and a retired firefighter. He has worked over 30 years in the waste industry, managing environmental responses, large-scale debris operations, underground fires and hazardous waste disposal projects. Thalhammer was among the experts retained to solve environmental problems at the Bridgeton, Missouri quarry landfill.
Michael G. Williams is Senior Environmental Advisor and Senior Consultant with Golder Associates, Inc., of Richmond, Virginia. He has over 30 years of experience in environmental services, geological and hydrogeological studies, waste management, site assessments, remediation, wetlands and regulatory compliance. His specialties include site studies for the siting of solid waste landfills, groundwater and landfill gas remedial action plans, environmental monitoring and reporting.
Eddie Wyatt is senior director of operations and maintenance at Carlson Environmental Consultants, a North Carolina-based company with eight locations in the United States, according to the company. Wyatt has over 17 years of experience operating and maintaining landfill gas in over 75 landfill gas collection systems in 10 states. His experience includes data management to ensure regulatory compliance.
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