What it Takes to Move a Landfill: the Jackson County Airport Project

by Pam Jackson
Nov 18, 2015

Jackson County Airport_Image

The removal of 200,000 tons of waste material to realign and extend a runway is a long, complicated project. The waste removal phase of this project has just begun, but let's take a step back to see WHY the Jackson County Airport is undertaking this monumental task. The present airport project was started in 2001, when the Airport Layout Plan, an official blueprint of current and future runway and taxiway configurations, was approved by MDOT-Aeronautics, the FAA, and Airport officials. The plan addressed the runway-end safety area deficiencies that existed. The safety area is required to allow an aircraft a safe recovery area should it leave the paved runway surface. In 2008, the first runway project was complete. Phase two of the project required the primary runway to provide 1,000 feet of safety area at each end to be FAA compliant. This is where "moving a landfill" comes into the story. The required additional space was not available with the current configuration due to physical limitations on the property. To accommodate the standards, the primary runway needed to be demolished and realigned, partly over an area that was used as a sanitary landfill from the 1940s until the early 1970s.

Jackson County Landfill_Waste Removal

In 1927, W.R. Reynolds donated 160 acres to the City of Jackson for use as a municipal airport. After the City had built two dirt runways, the new airport was dedicated in June of 1928. In the 1930s, two civil works projects constructed a new airport terminal building and municipal hangar. The County acquired ownership of the airport in 1976, after two years of joint ownership with the City. In recent years, the airport has focused on bringing the runways into compliance. "A quality comprehensive transportation system is critical to the economic vitality of a community," said Tim Rogers, CEO of the Enterprise Group of Jackson.

This $20 million construction project is the largest capital project in Jackson County history and has involved years of work by many, including Envirologic. We joined the project team to assess and manage the contaminated material in the now abandoned sanitary landfill. The material in the landfill is primarily residential refuse from household waste collection. The intent of our investigation was to define the boundaries of the landfill material beneath the proposed runway and its accessory structures, estimate the amount of material that needed to be removed, and characterize the waste material to determine proper disposal. With that project scope, and after five years of planning, we have just entered the removal phase.

Jackson County Landfill_Waste Removal_day one

Envirologic was brought into the project because of our 26 years of remediation experience in Michigan, extensive environmental consulting and services work in Jackson County, and ability to help secure grants and loans. David Warwick, Envirologic's Vice President and co-owner, has been instrumental in moving this project forward. David is responsible for the $1 million loan from the Department of Environmental Quality being used to remove and transport the waste for disposal. Additionally, Envirologic was instrumental in securing the EPA grant funds used to perform the initial site assessments. This transformational project will bring jobs to Jackson County, the airport into FAA compliance, and provide economic development opportunities along I-94.

Envirologic has many capable and experienced partners and has worked closely with a number of state and federal governmental agencies. Many thanks to our project partners including Jackson County, Jackson County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority, SME, M&M Excavation and Terra Contracting. We'll continue to post photos from the waste removal process, and once the new runway is complete, circle back with the "final chapter."

Jackson County Landfill_Waste Removal2

More photos and and an update can be viewed here.

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landfill  jackson county airport  contaminates  runway  faa compliance  safety area  remediation  waste hauling  deq loan 

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