Man. Gas Processes
Contamination Threat Modes
Residuals - Components
Sources of MGP Liquid Effluent
FMG Plants in the US
Parallel MG Technologies
Think you've found a gas works?
Locating and Confirming a Site
Locations of US Gas Plants
FMGP In The News
FMGP In The Arts
Coal-tar Site Litigation
Related sites on the Internet
Literature of Manufactured Gas
Publications by Dr. Hatheway
Slide Shows by Dr. Hatheway
Slide Shows by others
Locations of Gas Plants and Other Coal-tar Sites in the
THE STATE OF VIRGINIA
In terms of
historical development of manufactured gas in America, Virginia presents a
special case of vast areas of gas-making materials. These ingredients were
mainly accessible in geologically-divided ridges and valleys, all hindrances to
the spread of manufactured gas from its coastal and Potomac River proximity to
the nation’s capital.
the second exhibition of manufactured gas in the United States(after the 1792
display at Philadelphia) was the 1802 gas exhibited at Richmond, by Benjamin
Healey (AKA “Henfry”) and his limited gas lighting of a principal street in
1803. Today, the rich history of Virginia’s coal-tar legacy is poorly known, in
all sectors. Eventually, the spectrum of coal-tar sites became as broad as in
any state and multiple sites are to be found in most of the older, populated
cites; nine at Norfolk and ten at Portsmouth.
the author’s earliest MGP is the 1847 limited introduction at Washington, D.C.;
the 1848 gas light works at Norfolk (eventually three of the nine known coal tar
sites are FMGPs); the 1851 first of two FMGPs at Lynchburg, and the 1851 gas
works at Arlington (just across the Potomac from the capital; and the 1854
Fredericksburg Gas Light Co.
As was the
case in most southern cities, gas works began, in the 1890s to engage in making
ice, many making use of recovered gasworks ammonia (strengthened ammoniacal
liquor); a good example is the 1898 gas and ice plant at Hampton and the 1913
plant proposed for Chincoteague.
engineering influences were frequent, such as that of James Cleland, who founded
(1851) a prominent Lynchburg family, bringing forth experience working for
William Murdock, pioneer of the English manufactured gas industry, and married
to Murdock’s niece. Cleland made use of both fat wood and coal in his gas
generated early-on, in some smaller gas plants (such as at Manchester, 1893)
when a plentiful supply of this feedstock was assured, and at a favorable price.
Pintsch plants, producing the popular railway-car compressed gas lighting, were
common in Virginia, and date mainly after 1900.
surge in town gas plant activity occurred just after the turn of the 20th
century (such as at Elizabeth City) and Virginia may turn out to represent
America’s greatest municipal movement; places such Danville (ca. 1900);
Fredericksburg (late 19th c.) and at Norfolk.
All of the
necessary purifier material options also were available in Virginia; lime, wood
cellulose, and oxides of iron, iron sponge (from local industry, which also
provided sawdust and shavings from town wood factories shaping and forming wood
By far the
greatest number of Virginia coal-tar sites are those of wood
treatment/preservation. This activity began around 1896, at Buell, near Norfolk.
These sites typically were located in and along the banks of the several rivers
and harbors of the five cities of Hampton Roads maritime area, dating back to
the 1880s. Also, as was characteristics of many other southern states, many
treatment plants are to be found in timber areas, positioned along railroads,
and mostly established from about 1900, for treating railroad ties and for
street-paving blocks, as caulked with gas tar (such as at Finntown).
own coal resources led, from about 1895, to the construction and operation of
both non-recovery and recovery (by-product) coke ovens,(Big Stone Gap, 1895);
some of the beehives (non-recovery) were active until at least 1999 (Buchanan
County). The European war of 1914-1918 resulted in the construction of a number
of by-product coke-oven plants, such as Carbocoal (Clinchfield); yet the number
of these typically highly contaminated properties is far less than in
Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
as is the case in nearly all states, outnumber town gas plants, providing fuel
gas for virtually all industries. A good starting date now appears 1889, with
the Lawrence Cement Co. plant at Fordwick, and its 1907 mill at Blacksburk;
General Chemical Corp. plants such as those at Front Royal and Pulaski, and the
Marion Foundry (Marion, VA). A particular category of industrial sites employing
gas producers are the numerous military ordnance plants of both world wars, such
as the Virginia Ordnance Works at Clifton Forge. Producer gas plants had a
rather small foot print and their PAH residuals and wastes often are mis-identified
and improperly diagnosed, leading to flawed site remediation.
gasoline gas, both strikingly dissimilar in process, were quite popular,
especially in very small cross-roads downs and with the “farms” and mansions of
the landed rural gentry. In particular, acetylene is well represented by the
early (1890) one room plants at Herndon and Manassas, providing very intense
light at the consistently extravagant rate of $15 per thousand cubic feet.
Acetylene generators were available off-the-self or on short-order in most mid-
to large-size urban centers of Virginia. None of these gas plants should be
considered to represent uncontrolled hazardous waste sites, unless shown
otherwise, from activities other than this gas-making.
to be served as a mixed air-gas in the early 1930s, in low -cost plants found
along rail sidings. The outstanding financial control came from out-of-state
Military Posts and Naval Stations, due to their remote or semi-remote locations,
are universally suspect of having artificial gas plants; the larger posts with
small coal-gas plants and the smaller installations with acetylene generators.
Some examples are Fort Meyer (1908) the present headquarters post of the U.S.
Army, with gas generated for its Signal Corps observation balloon detachment.
Also to be considered are the many Coast Artillery forts (such as Fortress
Monroe) of the Army, and the Quartermaster Remount Depot, Front Royal (est.
1907). The many naval installations, as well as Langley Field Naval Air Station
(with a 500,000 cf gas holder) should be considered likely prospects for
gasworks, as well as the National Soldiers’ Home (1887) gas works.
Click the blue "EPA" link below to view the
Virginia map of the EPA 1985 Radian FMGP Report.
Click the green "Hatheway" link
below to view the
Virginia map of Professor Hatheway's research.
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