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A Construction Support CASE STUDY
environmental management at world's busiest land border crossing


    Snyder Geologic has assisted Hensel Phelps Construction Company (HPCC) and HM Pitt with management of environmental issues related to the reconstruction and expansion of the San Ysidro Land Port of Entry (SYLPOE), the busiest land border crossing the world, between San Diego, California and Tijuana, Mexico.

The primary environmental issue at the SYLPOE was management of soil excavated during construction. In some areas, petroleum hydrocarbons and metals have contaminated the shallow soils from historic land use and underground storage tanks. As HPCC subcontractors excavate areas of the site for utility installation, foundation construction, general grading, and construction of tunnels, some areas have been found to contain elevated levels of metals and pesticides from historic agricultural operations, in addition to hydrocarbons.

Snyder Geologic has worked with HPCC as well as the project owner, the United States General Services Administration and their consultant URS Corporation to manage the contaminated soil in an environmentally and fiscally responsible manner. In some areas, contamination levels were elevated to the point that the soil required remedial excavation and off-site disposal. Segregation of the soil was necessary to minimize the amount of costly disposal of, in some cases, California-hazardous soil, and in other cases non-hazardous soil.

For soils that were determined to contain pesticides, but no other anthropogenic contaminants, Snyder Geologic is assisting HPCC with the temporary staging of the soil at an off-site location owner by the project owner for future reuse at the project site, and potentially for off-site reuse elsewhere in San Diego County. We are in negotiations with the Regional Water Quality Control Board to allow reuse of the soil at a commercial facility. Due to soil reuse and diversion from area landfills, current project savings are nearly $500,000 and could rise to well over $1,000,000.

Where soil is not contaminated, we are documenting the soil conditions so that export of “inert” (clean) soil can be exported as fill for construction projects throughout San Diego County. This effort is saving the owner millions of dollars in disposal costs, and diverting otherwise useful soil from local landfills.