Construction is progressing on the new cell at the Shenandoah County Landfill in Edinburg.

Shenandoah County leaders received an update on the progress of the county landfill’s expansion project on Tuesday evening, during which Patrick Felling, the county’s director of solid waste management, informed supervisors that the site’s newest cell remains on track to open early next year.

As of Tuesday evening, construction crews with Sargent Corporation were performing additional excavation of rock and clay at the site of the landfill’s Phase 4 cell, said Felling, who added that final mass excavation was expected to be completed within the next two weeks. Felling said construction crews were able to break up rock with an alternative method to blasting.

Felling further noted that crews would begin packing in 2 feet of a special type of clay later this month, on top of which a geosynthetic liner will be installed in November.

“This is all to make sure that whatever goes into the landfill doesn’t soak into the ground,” Felling said. “It’s meant to go into the bottom of the landfill and be captured, sent and pumped out as leachate and treated at the treatment plant. A lot of this effort is to make sure that whatever goes into the landfill doesn’t get into our groundwater.”

The project includes improvements to the landfill’s existing leachate collection system, Felling added.

According to Felling, “substantial” completion is expected by early December, though the Phase 4 cell won’t be open for use until the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality issues a certificate to operate, which the county is projecting to receive in February.

“We have a lot of steps yet to take, but we’ve made significant progress,” Felling said. “(Sargent Corporation) set an aggressive schedule and they’ve kept very close to that schedule so far.”

The Shenandoah County Board of Supervisors in July accepted Sargent’s $2.57 million bid on the construction contract for the landfill cell expansion, and data Felling presented on Tuesday showed the county had paid just over $1 million in construction costs on the project to that point. That leaves just under $1.5 million that the county will pay on the project over the next three months.

“A lot of the costs that we will see in the coming months are going to be associated with the purchasing of materials,” said Felling, who noted that construction crews will spend 45 days hauling in non-calcareous stone that will be placed 1 foot thick throughout the 5 ½-acre cell to protect the plastic liner at the bottom.

Felling added that future expenses will include the geosynthetic liner, leachate piping and the rain cover for the landfill cell.

The Phase 4 cell expansion comes nearly five years after the construction of Phase 3, which was completed in 2016 and is “nearly full now,” Felling said. Phases 1, 2 and 3 make up half of the 37-acre landfill property, according to Felling.

The county set aside $3.6 million for the landfill expansion when its budget was finalized in April, though Sargent’s low bid brought the entire projected cost to just over $3 million.

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