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A message from the City on incidents at Kendal construction site


Noah A. Simon
City Manager
(540) 462-3700

June 15, 2018


On Wednesday, June 13, 2018, two unrelated incidents occurred at the Kendal at Lexington construction site within City limits. First, at approximately 1:55 p.m., contractors detonated a blast that unexpectedly caused a debris shower, damaging a neighboring property. In the second incident, the City was notified in the early evening that discolored water was seen flowing in the stream leading to Woods Creek from the Kendal construction site, which was later determined to be caused by a failure in the erosion and sediment control measures of a retention basin. Again, the two incidents are thought to be unrelated.

Thankfully, no one was injured in either incident. Both are under investigation by the City of Lexington and the State of Virginia. A Stop Work Order was issued by the City in response to each incident, one for blasting and one for excavation, with the exception of certain approved erosion and sediment control measures to address the failure in the retention basin.

“The safety of our citizens and the environment is our number one priority,” said City Manager Noah A. Simon. “The City is committed to performing all actions within its power to ensure that those carrying out the Kendal project do so in a way that goes above and beyond the minimum legal requirements.”

The following information summarizes both events and outlines the actions taken by the City to secure citizens’ safety and well-being.

BLASTING – At approximately 1:55 p.m., contractors from Blue Ridge Rock Services set off a blast at Kendal. Prior to the blast, the site was inspected by the Fire Marshal and found compliant with Virginia explosives laws. The blast caused a debris shower that impacted at least one property. There were no injuries reported.

City’s Immediate Response:

  • A Stop Work Order was issued by the Fire Marshal immediately following the blast in question on Wednesday.
  • The Fire Marshal required all records and information relating to the blast to be submitted to him, and an investigation is underway.
  • No further blasting will be conducted until the investigation is complete and submitted to the State.
  • The damaged neighboring property was inspected by the Fire Marshal.
  • A press release was made available to the public concerning the incident.

Depending on the outcome of the investigation, the project’s blasting permit could be suspended, revoked, or the project could resume. Whatever the outcome, the City is strongly recommending several additional actions and safety measures that further exceed the minimum standards set by the State code. The following recommendations have been communicated to Kendal:

  • Institute a text-based notification system to owners of surrounding properties to occur.
  • Be as clear as possible about the windows of time in which blasting may occur.
  • Install multiple sirens near the blasting site to alert neighbors in addition to the current siren, which is required to alert site workers.
  • Increase the volume of the siren or sirens.

The Kendal construction project is not a City project, and these recommendations are not enforceable. Kendal and the blasting contractor were in compliance with state-set regulations for the blast on June 13th as well as for all prior blasts. Kendal does exceed requirements by emailing adjacent neighbors about blasting schedules and by maintaining a blog site where notifications are posted about blasting and other project updates.

EROSION AND SEDIMENT CONTROL RETENTION BASIN – Upon receiving notice of discolored water flow in a stream near Pickett Street and Enfield Road on Wednesday evening, City officials reported to the scene to investigate. The cause of the off-colored water flow was determined by the City’s Erosion and Sediment Control (E&S) Inspector to be a failure of the retention basin on the Kendal site. A Stop Work Order was issued by the City Manager the following morning requiring Kendal’s excavation contractor to halt all work other than work that directly pertains to fixing the issue. Representatives of the Department of Environmental Quality were called to the site on Thursday. Their investigation will determine the nature of the effluvia, and representatives from the Virginia Water Protection Program will come in next for further analysis.  If the property is not in compliance by 12 p.m. on June 22, 2018, then a complete Stop Work Order will be issued by the City Manager.

The City of Lexington is committed to providing as much information as possible on these incidents. Once the investigations are complete, full reports will be made to the City Council and to the public.

Additional Information

City Manager – Noah A. Simon, (540)-462-3700, nsimon@lexingtonva.gov
Fire Marshal – Trent Roberts, (540)-463-3210, tbroberts@lexingtonva.gov
Building Official/E&S – Steve Paulk, (540)-463-3738, spaulk@lexingtonva.gov
Kendal Representative – Julia Skare, P.E., (434)-390-8956, juliaskare@gmail.com


City of Lexington Blasting Memo from June 7, 2018

Stop Work Order for blasting from June 13, 2018

Stop Work Order for excavation work from June 14, 2018

Kendal Blog Site