Verde Environmental Consultants & Oil Leak Clean Up Specialists Beckham’s New Stadium Site highlights the importance of Environmental Due Diligence and Soil Waste Classification – Verde – Complete Environmental Solutions
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Beckham’s New Stadium Site highlights the importance of Environmental Due Diligence and Soil Waste Classification

Ever since retired soccer star David Beckham and his new partners, Jorge and Jose Mas, abruptly abandoned their Overtown stadium plans and pivoted to the Melreese Country Club near Miami International Airport, skeptics have piled on about potential hangups: the traffic, the loss of a city-owned golf course, the last-minute proposal that could hand the Mas brothers a profit bonanza.  But virtually everyone seems to have missed a huge problem with the site: Melreese sits atop a giant pile of toxic waste.

A New Times review of more than a decade of tests at Melreese by the county’s Department of Environmental Resources Management (DERM) and interviews with DERM officials as well as environmentalists make it clear that any developer building on the golf course would have to undertake a massive cleanup that could add millions in costs and lengthy delays.  As Beckham’s team prepares to pitch city commissioners tomorrow on the plan to turn the course into an immense stadium and retail complex, activists say politicians need to work overtime to ensure that taxpayers aren’t left holding the toxic waste bill.  “The cost to clean this up is going to be astronomical,” says David Villano, a journalist and activist who has written extensively for New Times about the toxic incinerator ash under Miami parks.  “Before they put this decision to voters, and before the city commission considers leasing that property, the conversation about incinerator ash needs to be front and center. This is a toxic landfill.”  The waste includes dangerous levels of dioxins, arsenic, barium, arsenic, lead, and other carcinogens. Those parks were closed for years as clean-up work was done.

The county first realized it might have a toxic problem in Melreese in early 2005 when engineers discovered a serious issue: “Incinerator ash material was found in a layer at least two-feet thick” beneath Grapeland’s soil, according to a DERM report.  In October 2015, DERM hired a firm to drill soil samples and test water at nearby Melreese, a 154-acre course that opened in the 1960s, to see if it also was contaminated. The short answer: most definitely.  The company dug 50 holes up to three feet deep around the course and, in 36 of them, immediately found clear evidence of toxic ash. The ash was silty, “dark gray to black in color” with “brownish-red nodules” and plenty of burnt glass and metal shards, a sure sign of the waste. The thickness varied, but in some places “exceeded four feet in thickness.”

At Melreese, though, DERM and the county determined that the golf course could simply engineer its way around the toxic waste.  “At Grapeland Park, with the development and construction planned there, they conducted an aggressive solid waste removal,” says Wilbur Mayorga, the chief of DERM’s Environmental Monitoring and Restoration Division. “For the Melreese Golf Course, the city and representatives of the golf course availed themselves of another option in cleanup, which is to put in place existing engineering controls.”  Those “controls” include hard membranes beneath sand traps and other barriers above the toxic soil so that neither golfers nor maintenance workers ever come into contact with the potentially dangerous waste.

In 2006, the county ordered follow-up soil testing at Melreese to test for a wide range of potentially harmful contaminants like barium, copper, and dioxins. They found that the samples exceeded Miami-Dade’s standards for residential areas for several of those contaminants, but that the levels were below standards for commercial areas.

Any large-scale construction on the site would probably mean digging up untold cubic feet of toxic incinerator ash — and would force developers and the city to work with DERM on a plan to properly dispose of it.  “Any time the city or developer is going to modify or alter any site that has documented contamination, those modifications are mandated countywide to submit their plans to us for approval,” Mayorga says. “The development plan must show that modification will render it safe. For example, any contaminated soil or waste needs to be properly disposed of.”

The safety rules go even further than that, though, because construction workers building, say, a 25,000-seat stadium and 600,000 square feet of retail nearby also need to be heavily protected from the toxic soil while they’re hauling it away.

“From my professional experience as an engineer… in contaminated areas where you have a large area with a large excavation project, you may indeed need solid waste removal as part of your plan,” he says.

The county doesn’t have rules about who would have to pay for all that toxic waste removal — it’s up to developers and the landowners. In the case of Melreese Country Club, that’s taxpayers.  “We need to know ahead of time: Who will bear the cost to safely disturb and move that ash debris?”

Source – Miami New Times

Environmental Due Diligence

Nobody likes unpleasant surprises when buying commercial property. You certainly don’t want to lose the profit on the deal. Yet a nasty shock – and the risk of having the profit on a purchase eaten up by environmental liabilities such as unforeseen clean-up costs – is exactly the kind of gamble property buyers make when they neglect or leave it too late to do an Environmental Due Diligence (EDD).

Realising this, our clients have engaged Verde Environmental Consultants to provide them with independent and impartial expertise, and give a clear understanding of the risks and potential impact of issues raised in the environmental due diligence exercise. Our tailored advice, provided by an experienced and dedicated team of environmental experts, is commercially focused, clearly communicated, delivered on time and backed with appropriate levels of professional indemnity cover.

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Read our Press Articles: Why do Environmental Due Dilligence – Article    |    Law Society Gazette – Cleaning Up article – Nov 17

Soil Waste Classification & Waste Acceptance Criteria

Brownfield Site AssessmentVerde Environmental Consultants  also have a team of scientists and chemists with extensive experience in the Soil Waste Classification process.  Our team help clients assess the composition of the material and determine the concentrations of the hazardous substances in the material, if present.

Our Approach

Our team carry out a phased approach to soil waste classification:

  • Investigation and Sampling – design investigation and sampling frequency
  • Analysis – laboratory testing for potential contaminants
  • Classification – determining the most appropriate List of Waste (LoW) code for the waste
  • Comparison – comparison of the analytical data with Waste Acceptance Criteria (WAC). Wastes can only be accepted at a landfill if they meet the WAC for that class of landfill.
  • Options – Depending on results, Verde can offer advice on various available options

Read our Capability Document: Verde – Soil Waste Classification

FREE Licensed Soil Waste Facilities Map of Ireland

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The requirements imposed by environmental regulations on businesses are expanding and there is a need for managers and staff to continue their professional development (CPD).

Verde have developed a range of FREE courses enabling progression through key disciplines including Soil Waste Classification and Waste Acceptance Criteria. In this FREE 40 minute briefing which we can give at your premises, you will learn the importance of the correct classification of soil waste, as the stringent regulatory waste management procedures in Ireland make it a statutory requirement for waste to be characterised & assessed to see if it meets specific Waste Acceptance Criteria (WAC) prior to disposal at a landfill site.

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