Of Virginia To Investigate Former Landfill
5, 2000 -- The
University of Virginia has received preliminary approval from the
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to investigate two former disposal
sites for University debris on the south side of Observatory Hill.
investigation, expected to begin this summer, will be one of the
first in the region under EPAs new "facility lead agreement"
program. Under the program, a sites owner commits to performing
the study and any necessary clean-up to both the EPAs and
the states satisfaction.
University landfill, which covers about three acres, partially fills
a ravine below the McCormick Observatory. The sites were used from
the 1930s until about 1983 by various University departments, operating
under waste disposal laws and practices of the time.
on our records, we expect the vast majority of the material in the
landfill to be demolition rubble, such as brick, concrete, plaster,
steel and other building materials," said Ralph O. Allen, director
of environmental health and safety at U.Va. "There may be landscaping
debris and possibly some hospital trash that was buried instead
the sites were essentially unmonitored during most of that period,
questions have been raised as to what materials may have made their
way there. The purpose of this investigation is to remove that uncertainty
and to deal with any problems that we may discover."
investigations by U.Va. last year led University officials to pursue
the more thorough analysis, he said. For example, some surface water
samples showed signs that fires may have been set in the area some
is currently reviewing U.Va.s workplan for the investigation,
which is expected to take at least a year, once it begins in late
June or July. It will include exploratory trenches, soil sampling,
and surface- and groundwater sampling over 12 months to detect any
data gathered will help officials determine whether the landfill
poses any risks and, if so, how they should be addressed.
As part of the plan, the University must specify how it will assure
the quality of the study, compliance with EPAs environmental
indicators within the stated time frame and public participation.
said the University is currently seeking proposals from environmental
engineering consultants to conduct the testing and analysis.
Louise Dudley, (804) 924-1400