During the Phase III renovations of Carroll County High School and Intermediate School, some soils at CCIS were determined to be substandard for compaction. Therefore, the contractor and engineer had to remove soil and replace it with better material. An Erosion and Sediment (E&S) permit was obtained from the Town of Hillsville for the site, said Town of Hillsville Building Code Official Steve Bowman. It is normal that the E&S Permit covers both the disturbing and waste locations.
A normal waste site for the Phase III Project is the regional landfill in Hillsville since soil is used for Average Daily Cover and the soil becomes a public good, Bowman said. The regional landfill is 1.7 miles from the project site at CCIS. However, the waste from CCIS in this case was taken 6.9 miles out of the Town of Hillsville in Carroll County to Gallimore’s property, where waste was not permitted through E&S as part of the Phase III project, Bowman said.
As a result, the town Building Code Official confirmed that Carroll County Public Schools would receive a Notice of Violation (NOV) from the Town of Hillsville for not having appropriate E&S permits. As a result of the NOV, Bowman said the School System will be forced to:
Include the waste site on Gallimore’s property into the Phase III project through the E&S modified permit with the Town of Hillsville. That could have involved additional fees or fines from the Town of Hillsville, but Bowman said the town won’t assess any fines in this case.
Have an engineer visit the non-permitted waste site and develop the modified E&S Plan to include the illegal waste site.
Have an engineer develop a listing of immediate E&S Measures that must be taken so as to avoid runoff from the site.
Implement the E&S measures as listed above (on the private property) to make sure it is in compliance.
Must monitor the illegal waste site until the site is permanently stabilized (vegetation is on the site).
Additionally, Bowman said Gallimore must adhere to E&S rules and regulations of Carroll County and the Commonwealth in regards to the soil moved to his property. Gallimore would also have to obtain an engineer to develop an E&S Plan and necessary permit if the illegal waste site exceeds 10,000 square feet.
“Currently there is 7,000 square foot of dirt that was moved to the site. Since it is not 10,000 square foot, if it was a private disturbance it wouldn’t have to have a permit,” Bowman said. “But being part of the Phase III project, it will be required to have a plan. It did catch everybody off-guard. We just assumed it was going to the landfill, but I think it was an honest mistake on the contractor’s part. I don’t think it was anything intentional.”
Gallimore said he was unaware the dirt was coming from CCIS at the time he obligated himself to take it. He said he’s asked Pine Creek Contractors for extra dirt on several occasions over the past two or three years.
“I asked him if he got any extra dirt, if he was in my direction, to send me some. The Virginia Department of Transportation has dumped dirt there in the past. I told him they hadn’t been cleaning the ditches out much and I wanted some more dirt,” Gallimore said. “He called me one night late and asked if I still needed dirt and I said, ‘Yeah.’ He said it was clean dirt. I told him to go ahead and bring it when he got ready.”
Gallimore said the contractor had called a couple of times before with promises of dirt, but he never received any. Considering that, he didn’t know if he would receive any this time.
“So he did bring me some. When I found out where it was coming from, I was in Richmond with the School Board Association. And I had decided I would tell them maybe they shouldn’t bring me anymore,” Gallimore said. “If I knew where it was coming from to begin with, I would have never told him to bring it. I didn’t know we had that much dirt to move. I think what they said was the dirt wasn’t suitable or compacted. I talked with (Carroll County Superintendent of Schools) Dr. (Greg) Smith and he said he didn’t see any improprieties about it. I told them if they thought it needed to be took back, you are welcome to come and get it. And they weren’t going to do that because there was too much expense in running the trucks up and down the road.”
Gallimore said he thinks some of the dirt moved to his property may have come from the former Agriculture Education Shop from CCIS. This could also be a violation of the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) separate from the previously mentioned E&S issues. However, both Bowman and Carroll County E&S Inspector Tim Carpenter don’t believe that will be an issue as long as just concrete and brick are buried under dirt at the site.
“I know there is some concrete and brick that was there first and I assume it probably came from that (Ag Shop) site,” Gallimore said.
Since the dirt moved to Gallimore’s property came from a Phase III school project, the cost of the Notice of Violation and any fines would become part of the Phase III cost. And Gallimore’s private property will now become part of the Phase III Construction project.
“I know there are some people in the public that might see it as wrong doing, and if I had knowledge it might have been,” Gallimore said. “But I didn’t have knowledge of where it came from at the time. What is done is done and I just hope we can get it smoothed over.”
Carroll County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Greg Smith said his office had not received a Notice of Violation from the Town of Hillsville yet when interviewed Monday. In his opinion, he didn’t think there were any improprieties on Gallimore’s part.
“I think the error will be found to be on the contractor (Triad Builders) and subcontractor (Pine Creek Construction) to not have disposed of the soil properly. And it has been my understanding that every effort will be made to resolve this situation by the contractor in compliance with any sediment and control guidelines,” Smith said. “I have not had communications with the subcontractor in regard to how this occurred. I have had communications with the contractor on site and have been assured this matter will be corrected as soon as possible.”
When asked if soil being moved from a Phase III project site to the property of a school board member is a conflict of interest, Smith said that was a difficult question to answer. He said he would forward the information to legal counsel, who would advise the school board on the matter.
“The contractor has clearly indicated to me they were at fault for not disposing of debris properly. The school division had no knowledge that the soil was being deposited on a site that was not permitted. The contractor is responsible for the proper dumping of the soil and clearly it was not within the guidelines of the E&S plan that the school system had applied for,” Smith said. “And we are currently working with the contractor who has assured us that all the requirements of E&S will be met. We’re not sure what the recommendation will be to resolve this but we will certainly be complying with all the guidelines for E&S sites and will counsel with our attorneys in settling this matter.”