As part of a voluntary program with the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), UNC-Chapel Hill has hired a Registered Environmental Consultant (REC) to oversee the investigation and remediation of soil on the site of the Cameron Avenue Cogeneration Facility (Facility).

Unusual dark streaks and layers in the soil were discovered in June 2010 during excavation for the construction of a new storage building on the southeast portion of the site, near the gravel section of McCauley Street. Tests of the suspect material confirmed the presence of coal combustion byproducts (CCBs) in the soil, and the University notified DENR of the situation in July 2010. The suspect soil in the building footprint was excavated and sent to a permitted landfill so that construction of the warehouse could be completed. UNC-Chapel Hill submitted the required site cleanup questionnaire to DENR, and DENR determined that the site was of low risk and could be voluntarily remediated under the REC program.

Further review of historical records determined that the CCBs were not new but dated back 50 or 60 years to the original coal-fired plant. At that time, CCBs accumulated on site as part of standard power station operations. CCBs from the present Facility meet current regulatory standards and are removed from the site to be recycled.

Although the suspect soil has been excavated and sent to a landfill, UNC-Chapel Hill has volunteered to investigate and evaluate potential CCB impacts associated with historical operations at the Facility.

To participate in the REC program, UNC hired Geosyntec Consultants of NC, PC, an environmental consulting firm, to oversee the investigation and remediation work in compliance with the REC program regulations.

REC activities are conducted under the guidance of a Registered Site Manager (RSM) who has been approved by DENR to guide responsible parties through the REC program. Eric Nesbit, P.E., of Geosyntec will serve as the RSM for the project. He is a principal environmental engineer with 14 years of program management experience executing environmental remediation actions, removal actions and remedial construction projects.

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