Copper Basin Watershed Restoration and Redevelopment
The Copper Basin, located 45 miles east of Chattanooga, spanning almost 50 square miles, was adversely impacted by nearly 150 years of mining. The various mining, refining, and manufacturing operations resulted in significant environmental degradation of the landscape. Two watersheds draining to the Ocoee River included orange, metal-laden creeks devoid of aquatic life. The denuded lands were so barren that the area became one of only a few visible landmarks from space, along with the Great Wall of China.
Since the late 1990s, Barge Design Solutions has served as the prime environmental consultant for the long-term cleanup of one of the largest and most complicated Superfund Alternative Program Sites in the United States. Working cooperatively with our client, the State of Tennessee, and EPA Region 4, Barge Design Solutions has led the site investigations, immediate removal actions, long-term remedial and land use redevelopment actions, and performance monitoring within the North Potato Creek and Davis Mill Creek Watersheds. Remedial actions have included passive treatment, ecological restoration, active treatment, waste removals, engineered caps, and revegetation. A land use plan with interpretative elements highlighting historic mining sites and the restoration efforts is the next step in the redevelopment.
The Barge Factor
Barge Design Solutions implemented a holistic approach to the restoration guided by results of the remedial investigation. Working with the regulators, an adaptive management approach was implemented allowing more timely completion of remedial actions for significant water quality improvements with modified or additional actions occurring after performance data was obtained.