In 2017, Savage made significant strides in adding new environmental services to our diverse capabilities that create value for our Customers. In addition to acquiring SUNPRO—a Midwest-based industrial and environmental field services company with planned and emergency response capabilities—Savage has also invested in businesses connected to power generation that provide benefits for Customers, communities and the environment.
In April, Savage purchased companies in Southwest Virginia that specialize in the removal of waste coal piles from abandoned mines and the restoration of impacted land, streams and forests. The waste coal, known as gob, is separated from rock and transported by truck to a terminal in St. Paul, Virginia, where it is blended with run-of-mine coal and used to generate electricity at Dominion’s state-of-the-art Virginia City Hybrid Energy Center (VCHEC).
There are hundreds of waste coal piles in the region, some dating back more than a century and many containing hundreds of thousands of tons of material. After removing waste coal, Savage replaces topsoil and plants grass at the sites to help transform the land back to its pre-mining appearance. The Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME) facilitates the planting of tree seedlings as part of the state’s Abandoned Mine Land Program, with funding from the U.S. Office of Surface Mining grants.
Approximately 6 million tons of waste coal have been removed in Southwest Virginia since 2004, and hundreds of acres of waste coal sites have been reclaimed, through this collaborative effort. Earlier this year, the removal of approximately 1 million tons of waste coal from the Hurricane Creek site in Russell County, Virginia, was completed by Savage’s predecessor company, Gobco, eliminating a significant source of pollution affecting the Clinch River. The Hurricane Creek project includes ongoing reclamation work by Savage in partnership with DMME and Dominion. In April, Savage was a sponsor of an Arbor Day event where hundreds of sixth-grade students participated in planting trees on the Hurricane Creek site.
In November, Savage was recoginized by the Virginia Coal and Energy Alliance (VCEA) at its annual fall meeting with the Best AML Enhancement award for the company’s work to recover waste coal from the Tom’s Creek gob pile, and using proceeds from coal sales to offset the cost of reclamation.
This past summer, Savage also became a part owner of a Refined Coal Facility (RCF) at Minnesota Power’s Boswell Energy Center in Cohasset, Minnesota, with Savage also operating and providing maintenance of the facility. Savage pre-treats the coal with chemical additives prior to combustion, using a proprietary technology licensed to the joint-venture company. As a result, Savage is able to help Minnesota Power reduce its mercury and NOx emissions by respectively +40% and +20%.