Hampton Roads Harbor links the East Coast port to 250 ports and 100 countries and services 90 percent of the world’s shipping lines. The busiest of the harbor terminals, Norfolk International Terminals (NIT) has about 670 acres of land, two 1,320-foot cargo piers and nearly 6,000 feet of marginal wharf served by 11 container cranes. The project utilizes and the world’s largest Suez-class container-cranes and straddle carriers for handling the containerized cargo. Easy access to the Chesapeake Bay and direct access to rail and trucking facilities makes NIT the port of choice for container vessels when unloading their cargo at Hampton Roads.
The Challenge NIT is located at the confluence of the Lawrence and Elizabeth Rivers, and the number of container units passing through it has nearly doubled over the past decade. VPA chose to improve handling processes and upgrade the south terminal site to ensure excellent port services for its customers and support expected future growth. VPA knew that port upgrades would have an impact on nearby wetlands and sensitive waterways, including the Elizabeth and Lawrence Rivers, so VPA looked for an environmentally-friendly stormwater solution that would reduce any impact. Because NIT is adjacent to an environmentally sensitive river in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, state and federal environmental regulations required that its renovations include extensive stormwater treatment. Protecting the Elizabeth River, where the Hampton Road Harbor is found, became an important goal for NIT and VPA. Terminal construction and future operations would create construction sediment, motor oil, grease, and brake pad dust, as well as airborne pollutants.
Precon Construction of Chesapeake, Vir., a subcontractor to the prime, installed the Vortechs systems and a Contech representative was on site to make the installation happen easily.
The Result VPA’s construction of the under-wharf stormwater detention basin and Vortechs systems eliminated the need to dedicate seven acres of valuable container handling area for the construction of a conventional stormwater detention pond. Keeping this land for containers represents almost $3 million in terminal revenues a year to the VPA. Based on the increased capacity and efficiency represented by the full renovation of NIT South, the construction costs associated with the stormwater treatment system can be recouped in less than two years.