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Emergency Response Plans for CCR Landfills
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Coal combustion residuals (CCR), are typically managed in impoundments or in landfills. With several high profile failures of impoundments around the country and our client's own experience with small-scale releases from their landfills, Geosyntec was tasked to develop Emergency Response Plans (ERPs) for 12 landfills at 11 sites on the East Coast.

The client reviewed Geosyntec's initial ERP for one facility and subsequently ordered each facility to develop a similar plan.  The objective of the ERP is to provide the client with the initial steps to take in the event of a release from the landfill (likely due to slope failure) and provide an overall framework for response operations that is built on the Incident Command System (ICS) from the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) National Incident Management System (NIMS). ICS and NIMS are the general structure with which public agencies utilize to respond to incidents in their jurisdiction.  By including the use of ICS in the ERPs, our client will have a response structure that will be familiar to public emergency response agencies if they are activated in the event of a release. FEMA offers free online training in the use and implementation of ICS.

Geosyntec's Scope of Services

Geosyntec visited each landfill to gather information and review each landfill.  Most of the landfills were unlined closed sites that were stabilized with a vegetated cover soil. Geosyntec reviewed the stormwater management, leachate management, and facility upkeep practices. We then did a tabletop review of the each facility and surrounding land use to evaluate likely failure scenarios. This evaluation led to developing preparedness, prevention, and response strategies in the event of weather with the potential to cause a slope failure. Geosyntec also included a set of best management practices that avoids landfill operators creating spaces where water can accumulate with potential energy threatening the structure of the landfill.

Additional information such as neighboring property owners and contact information was prepared for the ERP. This information is important in the event a release goes off property. ERPs also included response procedures for fires, spills, leaks, and other emergencies not associated with a failure of landfill. Each ERP was organized in color coded sections which were written to allow the use to turn to that section immediately and act on the information provided.

Notable Accomplishments

The ERPs developed by Geosyntec use plain language that is easily understood by anyone who uses the document. In the event of a response, the client will implement the ICS in a manner that is scalable to the incident and provides clear reporting relationships between those involved in the response. The plans provide guidance and initial considerations to transition clean-up operations

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Project Summary

  • Location: East Coast, USA
  • Client: Confidential Energy Sector Client
  • Project Practice Areas: Environmental Management
  • Type of Facility: Landfill
  • Services Provided: Review site infrastructure for potential failure scenarios, Evaluation of on-site storm water and leachate collection systems, Develop facility specific Emergency Response Plans that are NIMS/ICS compatible
  • Type of Work: Emergency response
  • Governing Regulation: State environmental regulatory agency