The birthplace of Virginia’s coal mining history is now Mid-Lothian Mines Park, a 42-acre preserve and the most visited park in Chesterfield County. The land features the remains of early mining sites amid beautiful woodlands. When the property was donated to the county, its 19th century features – shafts, structures, and subsidence areas – were in a deteriorated state and posed a safety hazard to park visitors.

The Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy (DMME), Division of Mined Land Reclamation, oversaw all of the county’s site exploration, design, and construction related to reclamation activities. Schnabel began work at the site shortly after the initial land donation. During a $1 million reclamation initiative that began in 2014, we supported a variety of activities, including environmental permitting and assessment, two shaft closures, stabilization of pits and slumps, and closure of subsidence areas. This project, which won the 2018 “Small Project of the Year” award from the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, owed its success to unique collaboration between the DMME, Chesterfield County, and Schnabel.

One of the more prominent tasks, for which we provided construction administration and observation, was closure of the 625-foot-deep Grove Shaft – the first open-mesh closure in the eastern United States. Geotechnical and environmental engineering services were applied to other tasks, such as subsurface characterization and assessment of mine shaft geology, stabilization of subsidence features, wetlands delineation, Phase I environmental site assessment, water quality impact assessment, and perennial stream flow-resource protection area determination.