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Well done, lessons learned

News | June 1, 2012 | By:

To the editor:

With the sun shining and birds chirping, I took my April/May issue of Geosynthetics from my mailbox directly to my favorite reading chair. Intrigued by your editorial and the cover image of a massive 90.3-acre earth wound, the article “Closing the A&L Salvage Landfill: An unprecedented design-build regulatory effort” resonated my subconsultant services with a recent project here in Rhode Island.

The rural northeastern community and habitat in Ohio certainly did not deserve anywhere near 110ppb of hydrogen sulfide or the landfill eyesore. Job-well-done to everyone involved in the Ohio EPA, [its] CLOSER program of unique contracting mechanism, clarity of project-solution, and the successful pioneering design/build approach.

Reading to the end of the article featured a grass covered hilltop image of the landfill cap. A single geoprobe blended silently about mid-slope. I imagined myself standing there taking in the view. The eyesore was no longer.

What resonated was seeing what can be accomplished when technology, foresight, and professionals combine efforts for a common solution. While still on that hilltop image, I looked down at my feet to see the developing density of grass cover. It all seemed so simplistic.

Not so simplistic are the countless efforts of meetings, design documents and specifications, contractual obligations, contractor training and qualifications, site mobilizations, exposed soil and erosion controls, safety provisions, field work monitoring, materials testing and approvals, quality assurance, time schedules, weather influences, etc. … all vital to a projects’ success. And then, the frosting on the cake—the “vegetative cover” layer, as shown on the project’s Final Cap System and Final Cap System Drainage Bench details.

After all the countless previous efforts just mentioned, the A&L Salvage Landfill “earth wound” aesthetic transformed to a surface of “grass cover.”

My recent involvement as a landscape architect subconsultant to a Rhode Island geoenvironmental firm involved a bit more than grass cover. The project involved a soil cap remediation and entire landscape replacement of a resort in a prominent vacation locale, coordinated with no facility interruptions, formerly the site of a gas manufacturing plant. Lessons learned were foresight of positive coordination of project managers, general contractors, stockholders, community, and the team contributing to the frosting-on-the-cake. Whether it’s $400,000 of lush trees, shrubs, perennials, turf, and flowers or simply 90.3 acres of green grass, a landscape architect is humbled on the shoulders of engineers and other team professionals. Project success is the goal.

Earth wound and eyesore resolved in Ohio with a healthier community and habitat … well done, lessons learned.

Steven J. Pilz
Landscape Architect
Giovanni Assoc. Inc.
Cranston, R.I.

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To post your thoughts on these comments, fill out the comment form on the bottom of the article “Closing the A&L Salvage Landfill: An unprecedented design-build regulatory effort” or send your comments to editor Ron Bygness at

Comments and letters can contain opinions of individuals who are writing and do not necessarily reflect the views of Geosynthetics magazine or the Industrial Fabrics Association International.

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