Design, Permitting, and Inspections for Specialty Minerals Inc.

  • Client

    Town of Adams

  • EP’s Role


Environmental Partners has been working with Specialty Minerals Inc. at their limestone mining facility located in Adams, MA for over 20 years. Work has focused on meeting the demands of operating a large industrial facility, which the local economy relies heavily upon, and has included landfill siting, permitting, facility planning and design, construction phase services, and inspection services.

Completed projects have included operation and/or maintenance of the facility’s permitted landfills and have addressed specific issues of environmental regulatory compliance. Over the last two decades, EP has assisted SMI with slope stability assessments via inclinometer monitoring, third party landfill inspections, landfill design, siting, permitting, quarry reclamation, design of a discharge collection system and pump station, hydrogeology studies, and geotechnical investigations.

Slope Stability and 3rd Party Landfill Inspections

For the last 20 years, EP has assisted SMI with biannual slope stability assessments via inclinometer monitoring and bimonthly third party landfill inspections. Biannual slope stability assessments performed by EP include monitoring of the five inclinometers located on the slopes of the former Johnny Mach and Georgia Marble stockpile areas on the side slopes of Mount Greylock. Slope data is recorded, evaluated, and presented in a report to MassDEP which analyzes inclinometer measurement trends. Bimonthly third party landfill inspection forms and reports for the on-site Dollar Farm, Notch Road, and Powerline Landfills are prepared and submitted to MassDEP based on field observations and review of SMI’s activities, documentation, logs, photographs, sketches, and proposed short-term plans for the use of the landfills.


Assistance has included design, siting, and permitting of their Notch Road and Powerline Landfills over the span of 20 years. Design of the landfills included development of plans depicting foundation preparation, final landfill grading, landfill development and sequencing, structural berm design, and drainage controls. Siting and permitting of the landfills included preparation and coordination of MEPA approved Environmental Notification Reports and Environmental Impact Reports, DEP approved Site Assignment Reports, and DEP approved Landfill Facility Plans. Similar design, siting, and permitting tasks are currently being performed by EP for the proposed Quarry Minerals Management Area project.

Quarry Reclamation

In 2017, EP provided support to SMI by estimating the remaining capacity of the Power Line and Notch Road landfills for disposal of fluosolids (FS) dust and pond solids coproducts, which are regulated under the Massachusetts Solid Waste Regulations, and determined SMI had approximately two to three years of capacity remaining in these landfills. Since that time, EP has been working with SMI to develop their long-term solid waste disposal strategy and has held work sessions with MassDEP to identify characteristics of a new landfill facility that will meet with their approval as it proceeds through the regulatory process.

Two alternative locations for a new landfill were identified by EP: one location west of the quarry, and another within the quarry at the southern end. After screening these sites against various environmental and regulatory criteria, the area within the quarry was selected as the more favorable site, as it provides the greatest opportunity for a long-term landfilling solution for coproduct streams and provides reclamation to the areas of the Quarry which are no longer utilized for limestone extraction. DEP supported this site selection, and met with EP in the fall of 2017 and early 2018 to discuss specific design requirements and options for the new landfill facility.

EP has been assisting SMI further with the permitting for the new landfill facility, which is a staged approval process including a detailed site investigation that defines the hydrogeological setting of the proposed landfill as well as a Landfill Facility Report that provides the design, operations approach, and proposed monitoring and maintenance program for the landfill. At this time, EP has conducted initial coordination with MassDEP, waste characterization studies to determine the overall stability of the landfill, pre-application meetings with state agencies, and Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act permitting. Additional permitting performed by EP on behalf of SMI over the next two years will include DEP site assignment permitting and finally, landfill facility permitting.


In 2016, EP provided support to SMI for the site survey, wetland flagging, design, permitting, construction administration services, and resident engineering services associated with a discharge collection and pumping station located at the toe of the slopes at the Georgia Marble and Johnny Mach stockpiles. The implemented system, which conveys stormwater discharge to the on-site treatment facility, consists of approximately 4,000 linear feet of PVC force main, a precast concrete pump station, pumps, access manholes, and electrical service connections.


In 2017, EP assisted SMI in spatially and vertically locating readily observable groundwater seeps within the quarry to determine approximate current groundwater elevations at the site. Installation of four water table monitoring wells located around the perimeter of the landfill were used to evaluate groundwater flow, with the understanding that these levels have been modified by continuous groundwater pumping within the quarry. The data generated was used to help determine depth to groundwater and evaluate landfill design and construction conditions for the proposed Quarry Minerals Management Area.


From November 2016 through August 2018, EP assisted SMI with geotechnical investigations for proposed facility expansions including a new lime storage facility and a Thixocarb building expansion. These geotechnical investigations included performing geotechnical soil borings, collecting soil samples, and preparing detailed reports with general construction recommendations as well as recommendations for foundation types based on soil bearing capacity, seismic conditions, and potential settlement.


EP continues to assist SMI with slope stability and third party landfill inspections, biannually and bimonthly, respectively and assists on an as-needed basis for other site projects such as the discharge collection system and pump station and geotechnical investigations. Currently, the regulatory process for the Quarry Minerals Management Area project is underway and EP plans to advance the design of the landfill to include phasing and sequencing plans in the near future.

Key Team Members