Solid waste authority may take more “clean fill” construction debris

Where do buildings go when they are demolished? In some cases, removed concrete ends up being buried underground. In recent years, Albemarle County changed its rules to make it more difficult to do so. Now the Rivanna Solid Waste Authority is considering using an unused portion of the Ivy Landfill to accept some of the material. 

“We’ve been approached three times in the last about 12 months by some regional and local large construction firms [such as] Faulconer Construction, Curtis Construction, and they’ve been looking to find a solution for disposing of clean fill from some large projects,” said Phil McKalips, the solid waste manager at the RWSA. 

First, a definition of clean fill. That refers to uncontaminated soil, bricks, dirt, concrete without extended rebar, asphalt, and other solid material that does not contain chemicals that can leach into groundwater. 

“No roofs, not grass, no organics, things like that,” McKalips said. “So, it’s pretty inert material.”

Steps need to be taken to make sure the final resting place for the material has stormwater controls. Currently the RWSA performs that work and accepts the material at $10 a ton. Contractors argue that’s too high. 

“They wanted to see if there was some way that if they did all of the grading and the placement and the backfill and everything else, is there a way we could come up with a reduced fee,” McKalips said. 

Under the new arrangement, the new fee would be $3.50 a ton.

McKalips said the space would last between five to ten years based on the amount of construction going on in the area. He estimated this would bring in up to $1.4 million in revenue. To make it work, the fee schedule needs to be updated with a public hearing at the RSWA’s next meeting on March 22. 

Before you go: The time to write and research of this article is covered by paid subscribers to Charlottesville Community Engagement. In fact, this particular installment comes from the January 26, 2022 edition of the program. To ensure this research can be sustained, please consider becoming a paid subscriber or contributing monthly through Patreon.

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