The Shaffer Landfill is a closed, two-lobed industrial and municipal landfill located within the Iron Horse Park Superfund Site in Billerica, Massachusetts. Construction of the landfill cap (for which Geosyntec provided independent construction quality assurance services) was completed several years ago, with ongoing post-closure operation and maintenance. An energy developer identified the exposed lobes of the landfill as potential sites for solar development and retained Geosyntec to conduct an engineering evaluation for the construction of a fixed, ground-mount, photovoltaic (PV) solar panel system.
Geosyntec’s Scope of Services
Geosyntec began by coordinating review under the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) and evaluating potential wetland impacts. We also confirmed the adequacy of the site’s existing stormwater management system to accommodate up to 30 percent of the closed landfill being covered with impervious surfaces (the solar arrays). As a result of the landfill configuration, a detailed geotechnical evaluation was required that included slope stability and settlement analyses for the various existing slopes, up to and over 20 percent. Our evaluation was incorporated into a Post-Closure Use application to demonstrate that the installation of the PV panels would not compromise the integrity of the existing landfill cap. We developed Alternative Review applications to accommodate changes to the project. We attended meetings with the Town, the Town’s third party reviewer, and regulatory agencies; provided responses to comments on behalf of our client; and provided technical guidance to other members of the project team throughout the process. We worked with local agencies including the Billerica Board of Health, Planning Board, Police and Fire Departments, and Building Department as well as the Town Manager. The result was approval of the necessary permits to construct along with the successful negotiations involving local power agreements and a Payment in Lieu of Tax (PILOT) agreement for the project. During construction, Geosyntec interacted with SunDurance (the Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC) contractor), DynaSolar EPCM, the site civil contractor, T. Ford, and the electrician, Interstate Electrical Services. The majority of the work was conducted during winter to ensure that the project met the initial Massachusetts Department of Energy (DOER) 400 MW Solar Carve-Out and to qualify for solar renewable energy certificates (SRECs). We supported the project throughout construction and certified construction of the solar development on the closed Superfund site. The U.S. EPA Region 1 Administrator, MassDEP Commissioner, and other local and industry officials were on hand for the official ribbon cutting ceremony and grand opening.
This 6-MW PV facility at the Shaffer Landfill Superfund Site, consisting of about 20,000 PV panels, is the largest solar installation to date in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and, to our knowledge, the largest to be constructed on a Superfund site in the U.S. It is expected to play a major role in helping to increase the supply of inexpensive, dependable, and renewable energy in the Commonwealth. Geosyntec’s client, after receiving local, state, and federal approvals to construct the PV panels, obtained an agreement with the local electric utility to supply power from the project to the grid, providing about $3 million in tax revenue in the form of energy credits to the Town of Billerica.
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- Location: Billerica, Massachusetts
- Client: Urban Green Technologies Renewable Energy, 7 LLC; SunDurance Energy; Capital Dynamics
- Project Practice Areas: Contaminated Sites, Geotechnical
- Type of Facility: Landfill
- Services Provided: Geotechnical and stormwater management system evaluations, Final cover system evaluation, Permitting, Solar system construction oversight, Third party review of structural calculations
- Type of Work: Engineering Evaluation
- Governing Regulation: State and local