Storm Water Management System Installed in Swampy Conditions for Cold Storage Facility

Dec. 15, 2015
Pennsylvania site adds chambers as part of expansion

United States Cold Storage (USCS) has been providing refrigerated storage services to the food industry since 1889. Today, USCS is a leading national public refrigerated warehouse operator with 35 facilities in 12 states. The organization recently chose to increase its presence in Pennsylvania with a three-phase expansion plan totaling more than 500,000 sq ft, with the first phase consisting of an approximately 230,000-sq-ft cold storage facility to provide truck and rail transport for shipping operations in Richland Township, Pa.

In January 2013, engineers from Bohler Eng. of Lehigh Valley, Pa., were brought on to assist with due diligence exploration and were tasked with designing the new location, which would include the installation of a storm water management system. Engineers from Bohler collaborated with The H&K Group/Blooming Glen Contractors Inc. (BGC) and Primus Builders to develop the new layout for the site.

The Solution

Several storm water solutions were considered, but the contractors ultimately selected cost-efficient CULTEC storm water management chambers to provide detention and temporary storage of excess storm water on site, as well as allow for infiltration in accordance with both township and state regulations. The team broke ground on the project in November 2013.

Originally the project was specified around a concrete underground storm water management system at the request of USCS due to anticipated truck traffic. The H&K Group/BGC had favorable results using CULTEC’s chambers on previous projects and therefore asked CULTEC to present an alternate design using its chambers. A design specified with CULTEC’s Recharger 330XLHD chambers was presented to and approved by Bohler Eng. as an “equivalent” alternative to the original concrete system from a storm water management perspective. H&K Group/BGC—based on cost effectiveness, ease of installation and wheel-load capabilities—ultimately selected the CULTEC system.

CULTEC’s Recharger 330XLHD chambers are designed for traffic applications and capable of withstanding the weight of the tractor-trailers that will visit the storage facility daily. This particular project included a total of 931 chambers that provide the site with 79,419 cu ft of storage when surrounded by stone. A single chamber measures 30.5 in. high, 52 in. wide and 8.5 ft long, and it holds 475 gal.

The team faced various challenges during the design and installation of the storm water management system. Originally nicknamed the “great swamp” by early settlers in the 1700s, the site required prep work—including site stabilization and purging—as well as consideration of the site’s high groundwater. Contractors worked to install chambers around a number of light pole bases along the building, which presented further challenges during both the design and installation phases.

“We had to manipulate the system a few times on site due to the presence of the pipes, poles and other issues,” said Rob Mitchell, contractor with The H&K Group/BGC. “We were still able to get the chambers installed within four days because CULTEC’s product designs can be altered out in the field if needed, offering customers flexibility and a much more accommodating option compared to various other systems currently on the market.”

In addition to the CULTEC chambers, several other storm water management solutions are present on site. Vegetated swales provide initial pretreatment to eliminate fine particles from runoff. A combination of catch basins, water quality separators, manholes and HDPE and concrete pipes remove up to 44% of total suspended solids from runoff. In addition, rain gardens absorb rainwater runoff from impervious areas before it is directed into the CULTEC units, which eliminate 80% of total suspended solids.

“Richland Township and Buck County Conservation District regulations and the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit program required volume mitigation for increased runoff volume,” said Steve Walsh of Bohler Eng. “This volume reduction was achieved using CULTEC’s underground infiltration chambers in conjunction with other volume, rate and water-quality best management practices proposed on site.”

The Results

Phase I of this project, which includes the build-out of the primary structure, is scheduled to be completed in early 2015. Phases II and III, which will feature building expansions and a second underground storm water management system, should begin in late 2015.

The Richland Township, Pa.-based USCS is now open and has hired approximately 100 workers. 

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