Concrete company potentially coming to Isle of Wight

Published 10:43 am Wednesday, April 5, 2017

A Norfolk-based concrete company plans to relocate its headquarters to Isle of Wight County.

William Edwards, owner of Southern Casting LLC, submitted a proposal to the county’s government in February outlining his plans to construct a new concrete plant, asphalt plant and office on a nearly 7-acre industrial-zoned parcel of land on Lees Mill Road in Isle of Wight County near Franklin. He received a unanimous recommendation for approval from the county’s planning commission on March 28.

Edwards must still obtain final approval from the county’s Board of Supervisors, who will likely discuss his proposal during their April meeting, but he does not expect any problems persuading the board to vote in his favor.

“I think it’s going to be a done deal because it’s going to generate jobs for the community and it’s needed in the community for roads in the surrounding counties; even Franklin will benefit,” he said.

The facility will specialize in producing turn-and-mix concrete intended for curbs and gutters, state jobs, public roads and some residential work.

In addition to obtaining final approval from the Board, Edwards will also have to obtain several permits from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality. According to Craig Nicol, regional director of the DEQ’s Tidewater office, such permits may include a Virginia Pollution Discharge Elimination System permit for discharge of industrial stormwater or process wastewater, an air permit under the minor new source review, and petroleum storage tank registrations and permits for either above-ground or underground storage tanks for the asphalt plant component.

The facility would also need to be in compliance with erosion, sediment control and stormwater management requirements, which would be administered primarily at the county level via its stormwater program authority. Compliance with stormwater requirements would also likely require a DEQ Construction General Permit (CGP) for all land-disturbing activities. According to Nicol, the timeframe for issuance of a CGP is typically 60 days, including the locality review.

“With respect to processing schedules for permitting actions, some of the permits can be processed in a matter of days or weeks, bot others may take several months or more due to coordination with other agencies and if public notice requirements apply,” Nicol said. “Our regional office offers pre-application meetings with facilities and applicants to help guide applicants through the permitting process and to streamline the timeframes.”

Edwards said that in addition to obtaining all necessary environmental permits, his facility will be equipped with several pollution mitigators such as bag houses, filtration systems and retention ponds.

“A bag house is like a dust collector; it collects all your dust from the plant as it’s going into the truck like a big vacuum machine,” he said. “It will never smell like IP (International Paper) by any means.”

Edwards added that at peak operation, the plants could employ more than 65 people with salaries ranging from $15 to $27 per hour. He believes the asphalt plant could be of particular benefit to Franklin and Southampton County because there is not an asphalt plant serving either of those areas outside of Suffolk or Wakefield.

He estimates that the concrete plant could be in operation in about 24 months and the asphalt plant within 36 months.