Basalt mine filled to street level with inert material

by: TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Walmart is gearing up to transform the former Haggen Food & Pharmacy in Sexton Mountain into one of its Neighborhood Markets.Stuart Monson wants to make one thing clear about the former Cobb’s Quarry, which was developed to accommodate a Haggen Food & Pharmacy that opened in 2005 at 9055 S.W. Murray Blvd.: The former industrial operation was never a traditional waste dump.

“The site is not nor has it ever been a land fill,” he said. “There was never any garbage put into it.”

Monson, now chief executive officer of Pacific Gateway Development, is the former design, development and construction director at Barclays North Inc., the company that developed the old quarry to accommodate a Haggen Food & Pharmacy, which closed in 2011.

Beginning in the 1940s, the site operated as a basalt quarry, and was mined to a depth of about 90 feet below the current Murray Boulevard. By the early 1960s, the quarry was reclaimed and was eventually filled to street level with materials comprised of construction debris, such as concrete, rock, brick, as well as smaller quantities of wood and other organic material, he said.

After neighbors raised concerns over the multi-use project, Brier Development, Inc., entered into a voluntary remediation plan with the state Department of Environmental Quality. The developer installed a passive venting system, located beneath the paved parking lot in front of the store, with lighting poles providing exit portals for stray methane.

To ensure no methane could escape into the store, Monson said a “moisture barrier” was installed beneath the building, “to prevent the unlikely lateral migration of (methane gas) into the building or to the adjacent property boundaries.

Barclay’s, he said, invested more than $1 million in landscaping, noise attenuation and construction of an enclosed loading dock at the rear of the building to shield the residential properties to the west. Even with that, some neighbors raised objections to the development, particularly regarding the possible presence of methane gas from the quarry fill.

“It was a contentious project from the get-go,” Monson admitted.

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