Monthly Archives: July 2015

Potomac Landfill engages EnCAP-IT for MSE Berm System

Potomac Landfill in Dumfries, Virginia, has engaged EnCAP-IT to design a customized MSE berm system that will conform specifically to the topography of the 39-acre site and transition the area from a landfill to public recreation use.

Potomac and EnCAP-IT’s guiding principles for this design project will maximize its benefits to the community while minimizing its impact on the environment.

The design plan includes an earthen berm to be constructed in phases along the perimeter of the current Potomac site. The additional airspace the berm creates will be filled with waste materials that will then be fully macroencapsulated in Subtitle D composite liner. In the final phase, the now-full airspace will be covered with top soil and planted, shielding the environment from any harmful leaching from the waste materials and giving the land a new lease on life.

It’s a win-win scenario for all parties involved.

According to current plans, when the EnCAP-IT macroencapsulation project is complete and the landfill is full, the reclaimed land will have something for everybody, enhancing the quality of life for Dumfries residents by providing myriad options for outdoor and indoor recreation.

The land will be home to fields for baseball, soccer and lacrosse, in addition to tennis courts, playgrounds, and walking and bike trails. An indoor sports complex will house retail space, restaurants and “pay to play” activities such as martial arts, dance, rock-climbing, and fitness.

You can view “The Vision” as well as more details about the Potomac project and other reclaimed landfills around the world that served as Potomac’s inspiration.

– July 31, 2015

As Landfills Max Out, It Takes a Village to Determine What’s Next

When a landfill nears the end of its useful life, all the people it affects — its owners, government officials, nearby residents and developers — need to come together to develop a plan for the future if the land is to be saved.

No homeowner ever chooses to have a landfill in their backyard, and many fight hard to prevent it. Yet all that solid waste has to go somewhere. For those who end up living near such disposal facilities, a great consolation lies in knowing there’s a long-term strategy in place to transform the eyesore back into a productive space that will benefit the community. Sometimes this happens, sometimes it doesn’t.

One shining example of cooperation is Mt. Trashmore in Virginia Beach, Virginia. This former landfill is 60 feet high, 800 feet long, and is composed of compacted layers of solid waste and clean soil. Topped by the seal of Virginia Beach, it’s the focal point of a park that covers 165 acres and includes and two lakes, one of which is freshwater and permits fishing.

Mt. Trashmore park is family-friendly, with amenities such as volleyball courts, horseshoe pits, a walking path, and outdoor fitness stations, as well as many picnic shelters with charcoal grills. The 26,000-square-foot Kids Cove Playground is a destination in itself, with a safe rubber surface and a variety of outdoor equipment suitable for climbing.

A newer addition is the Skate Park, a 24,000-square-foot facility with a Skatelike Pro skating surface covering a street course, a bowl, and a vert ramp that’s free for skaters of all types to use.

True progress in environmental protection are only achieved when complementary entities join forces and help further mutually beneficial goals, which often yields creative results such as Mt. Trashmore.

At the opposite end of the spectrum is a 250-acre construction and demolition landfill in Lorton, Virginia, which has gone through a lengthy process to decide its fate. All parties finally agreed that it will close by the end of 2018, after all its owners’ proposals to extend its life were rejected.

One idea on the table was to repurpose the land as a solar farm, part of Fairfax County’s Green Energy Triangle initiative for renewable energy. But all bets were off once a shutdown compromise couldn’t be reached, and now the landfill is destined to be covered with soil and planted with trees. Period.

The parties who simply wanted that landfill closed won their battle. But one could argue they lost the war because the land will lose all purpose once it’s planted and abandoned.

These two scenarios serve to highlight what happens when people choose to work together — or not.

In the 17th century, the poet John Donne wrote, “No man is an island, entire of itself,” long before protecting the environment was anyone’s concern. But the sentiment expressed back then could not hold any greater truth today when it comes to the advantages of a collaborative approach to preserving land through beneficial reuse.