Geosyntec Consultants is a finalist in the 2014 Georgia Engineering Excellence Awards competition, sponsored by the American Council of Engineering Companies of Georgia and the Georgia Engineering Alliance. The Grand Award winner will be announced at the Engineers Week Awards Gala in February 2014.
Geosyntec earned its position as a state-level finalist for the Engineering Excellence Award following the successful re-opening of a coal combustion residual disposal facility at the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Kingston Fossil Plant, located in Roane County, Tennessee.
Geosyntec was initially contracted in 2010 to redesign the disposal site after plant officials changed the original plans for its use. While these efforts were in progress, a small subsidence of the underlying soils called a drop-out was observed during a routine inspection of the disposal facility in December 2010.
The drop-out was most evident by a vortex created in the surface of the gypsum impoundment as water drained out from the cell. As a result, a portion of the gypsum slurry was released into the subsurface. Following the incident, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) issued a Commissioner's Order for the investigation and remedy of the problem and required TVA to cease disposal operations until the drop-out investigation and mitigation efforts were completed.
In a period of less than a year, Geosyntec identified the root cause of the subsidence, developed a corrective action plan along with design improvements, received all stakeholder's buy-in (including multiple departments within TVA and TDEC), and implemented the plan on a schedule that had no flexibility for delays, due to power demand and operational constraints.
Neil Davies, P.E., the principal in charge of the project, said, "Geosyntec's long-standing relationship with officials at TDEC, together with using an over-the-shoulder review process during construction, were key elements to earning regulatory approvals and meeting all milestones for project delivery."
"Our relationship with TDEC has been exceptional through the years, and we've earned their trust for our work and our proposed designs," Davies said. "This greatly accelerated regulatory approval of the permit modifications, design, construction activities, and construction quality assurance reports at this sensitive site."
Mr. Davies added, "Given the level of public concerns about the Kingston site and the complex geology of the site, completing a project of this scale on a strict timeline under such a heightened degree of scrutiny is a special achievement."
Geosyntec Project Manager Mehmet Iscimen, P.E., said, "Close interaction and real-time response to client requests was paramount to meeting the tight deadlines. The dedication and commitment of our entire project team was exceptional as everyone worked to support a 24/7 construction schedule for several months. Our team worked around the clock to respond to changing site conditions. Throughout construction, the team's extraordinary effort was consistently praised and was integral to timely and successful completion of the project."