Alpha 3 Manages Capping of Three CCR Sites in Maryland

As the owner’s representative, Alpha 3 provided project management and project controls support for the capping and closure of three coal combustion residual (CCR) storage facilities located throughout southern Maryland. The facilities are associated with the Chalk Point, Dickerson, and Morgantown power plants, acquired by NRG in 2013 through its acquisition of GenOn. The program was initiated pursuant to a Consent Decree signed by NRG MD Ash Management and Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) in April 2013.

After investigation and design of remediation measures, construction is now near completion. The Alpha 3 team provided support from conceptual design through project closeout. A total of 250+ acres were capped with geosynthetic liner systems. The construction scope included large-scale earthwork operations, installation of geosynthetic liner systems, installation of temporary and permanent water treatment facilities, and maintenance of erosion and sedimentation controls to ensure CCR containment during construction. As owner's representative, Alpha 3 negotiated and managed contracts for engineering and design services, contracts for capping operations, and contracts for the design and implementation of water treatment facilities. Design and inspection services were provided by Golder Associates and AECOM, and cap construction was contracted to CB&I.

The boundaries of large-scale, covered CCR facilities are often uncertain due to the potential for underground migration of ash over decades of storage. Thus, the extent of remediation and capping must be adjusted as needed during construction. Alpha 3 managed design and scope change as they frequently arose throughout the program. Alpha 3 personnel worked closely with MDE, project engineers, and contractors to ensure environmental compliance was maintained throughout the project lifecycle. Alpha 3 also worked with NRG’s site operations and maintenance personnel to coordinate ongoing site operations concurrent with construction and to transition the capped sites to operations for long-term oversight.

Alpha 3 provided project controls services throughout the program’s duration, executing on budget and schedule parameters consistent with the environmental liability accounts and consent decree dates required. Unit-price contracts for all three sites required detailed quantity tracking to calculate earned value and validate monthly payment requisitions. Alpha 3 also provided cash flow and budget forecasting on both the project and program levels, maintained estimates at completion, and provided weekly and monthly client reporting to company executives.

Weekly reviews of resource-loaded CPM schedules ensured the constructability of capping work-paths and alignment with site drainage capacity limitations. One of the greatest risks associated with capping CCR sites is the chance of significant rain events on exposed ash. Once cover soil is stripped from an area of the site, an unanticipated rain event can quickly erode large quantities of ash. If the exposed area is not carefully managed, E&S controls can be overwhelmed, resulting in loss of containment, significant extra work for cleanup and repairs, delays, and extra cost. Thus, disturbance limitations must be maintained while carefully monitoring the weather forecast and simultaneously ensuring sufficient open workfronts to keep labor and equipment productive.

Through close coordination with all stakeholders, responsible project management, and detailed project controls, Alpha 3 was able to facilitate successful completion of the program for all parties.

May 17, 2018