Geiger Brothers completes Site Clearing for Piketon plant waste disposal facility

Tree removal at X114A.fssf4101.11.9.2015 (38)

Under contract to Geiger Brothers, Caudill Chipping used state-of-the-art feller bunchers on the OSWDF project. These implements have a vertical grapple that holds each tree in place while a circular saw cuts through the trunk. This photo shows a John Deere 959 tracked feller buncher — which can cut tree trunks 40 inches in diameter and was the larger of two on the job — cutting down the first tree on the 215-acre clearing site.

Geiger Brothers recently completed Site Clearing as prime contractor to Fluor-B&W Portsmouth, LLC (FBP) at the U. S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) uranium enrichment complex in Pike County, Ohio. FBP is the DOE prime contractor for Decontamination & Decommissioning (D&D) of the former Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant.

The project required removal of trees and vegetation covering approximately 215 acres. Work began in early November 2015 and was completed mid-February 2016. The task was completed incorporating nearly 9,000 safe contractor personnel hours without incident.

The Site Clearing was done to prepare for a future On-Site Waste Disposal Facility (OSWDF) for the D&D project. The location lies within the DOE property in an area consisting of open and forested land.

Tree removal at X114A.fssf4101.11.9.2015 (183)

Skidders with grapples moved logs to a horizontal chipper. While most of the timber was chipped directly into trailers for boiler fuel, some pieces were measured on a sawbuck and automatically cut to length for transport to saw mills.

Geiger Brothers was responsible for project management and directly for chipping and grinding of undergrowth and scattered trees and saplings up to four (4) inches in diameter using mobile forestry equipment; clearing of non-forested grassland, grubbing within a 30-foot wide strip to allow for future perimeter fence installation; installation, inspection and maintenance of erosion and sedimentation control devices; and temporary and permanent seeding. Under a contract modification, Geiger Brothers is continuing erosion control maintenance following basic project completion.

Extensive planning was required to decide on the location of landings, haul roads, stream crossings, and skid trails as well as which Ohio Department of Natural Resources “Best Management Practices” (BMPs) were best suited for use. Prior to the start, erosion and sediment controls such as check and filter dams were placed in critical areas. Personnel from Geiger Brothers installed additional erosion and sediment controls as phased clearing proceeded using BMPs such as silt fence or filter-sock (a fabric tube filled with mulch to control run-off) and removing stumps along the OSWDF perimeter. Areas where ground disturbance occurred were stabilized and revegetated as soon as possible after use to control erosion. Environmentally sensitive areas such as selected streams and wetlands were surveyed and fenced out to prevent disturbance before tree cutting started. A temporary stone boundary put in place prior to the land-clearing project prevented unauthorized access to the potentially hazardous clearing zones.

Geiger Brothers was responsible for construction and maintenance of temporary roadways, parking areas, lay-down areas, landing areas, and storage and work areas, and restoration to pre-construction condition upon demobilization. Geiger Brothers personnel provided dust control measures and for maintenance of traffic in accordance with the Federal Highway Administration’s Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD).

Prior to clearing work, Geiger Brothers had performed temporary construction facility set-up and utilities installation and prepared equipment staging, maintenance, and refueling areas.

Geiger Brothers was required to provide a professional surveyor, licensed in the state of Ohio, to survey and stake clearing limits as identified on construction drawings and to determine locations of surface water management and erosion and sediment control measures. For this task, Geiger Brothers engaged Howerton Engineering & Surveying of Portsmouth, Ohio.

In managing the project, Geiger Brothers was responsible for the performance schedule and sequence of work; for coordinating personnel training and reporting; for daily, weekly and monthly reporting and schedule updates; and for a wide range of client submittals including Safety Data Sheets, equipment and instrument data, and inspection plans. Most critically, Geiger Brothers developed and submitted to FBP a Surface Water Management and Erosion and Sedimentation Control Plan, a project Site-Specific Work Plan (SSWP), and a comprehensive Job Hazard Analysis (JHA). The environmental plan required submittal of manufacturer’s erosion control device product data and erosion control device inspection reports.

For the major tree clearing on the 215 project site acres, Geiger Brothers engaged subcontractor Corbett R. Caudill Chipping, Inc., based near McArthur, Ohio. Caudill performed the clearing of standing timber above a diameter of 4 inches using specialized industry-specific clearing equipment and logging practices. Trees were removed from the site as chips or as logs.

Fluor-B&W Portsmouth and Geiger Brothers had sought a reputable professional local logging company that primarily used mechanized means so as to enhance safety and limit the number of ground personnel and chose Caudill Chipping based on its years of experience and expertise in logging. The company had participated in ODNR development of Best Management Practices for logging, including how to handle erosion and sediment control during operations. The company has twice been featured in “Timber Harvesting” magazine as “Logging Business of the Year.” The company is a member of the Ohio Forestry Association and three of its employees have achieved Master Certified Logger designation.

Caudill Chipping used using state-of-the-art feller bunchers to hold and cut the trees. Trees intended for the chipper were dragged to a stabilized landing area where the portable chipper was located. Grapple loaders fed the trees into the chipper which then dispensed the chips into trailers. Some few logs were measured on a sawbuck and automatically cut to length. Stumps were left in place and will be subjected to grubbing just prior to OSWDF earthwork activities so as to control erosion in the interim.

Upon OSWDF Site Clearing project completion, the achieved desired end-state was for the 215 acres to be clear-cut with trees and brush removed and to achieve its readiness for construction of the waste disposal cell and support area. “This was a project characterized by utmost safety, compliance and efficiency,” said Geiger Brothers CEO and Project Manager Scott Massie, “made possible by full communication and successful coordination between Geiger Brothers, its subcontractor Caudill Chipping, and its client Fluor-B&W Portsmouth.”