A picture of the site showing gravel 'surcharge' and some of the thousands of wick drains.

Work slows at Pure Salmon’s US RAS site to let ground settle

Winter break ‘will allow nature to take its turn’

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Contractors preparing the site for Pure Salmon’s 10,000-tonnes-per-year recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) farm in the US state of Virginia are throttling back for winter after what the company says has been a “monumental” year.

“We have moved over 1.6 million cubic yards of material, punched thousands of wick drains, and piled a mountain of surcharge on to the future building area. Now it is time for mother nature to take its turn and let the earth settle into place over the next few months,” Pure Salmon Virginia said in a Facebook post.

Surcharge or preloading is used by soil engineers to compact the ground for construction by subjecting a site to an additional fill with a material such as gravel.

Wick drains, also called strip or prefabricated vertical drains (PVDs), accelerate preconstruction soil consolidation by enabling water to drain through the surcharge and the soil beneath.

Winter sets in

“While this surcharge is working and the wet winter months set in, we will be slowing earthwork on site. We will pick back up onsite activity once the desired settlement is achieved,” stated Pure Salmon Virginia on Facebook. “Exciting stuff, as we watch in anticipation weekly, the results of this year’s hard work.”

Pure Salmon, owned by Singapore-based 8F Asset Management, aims to produce 240,000 tonnes of Atlantic salmon a year at on-land plants sited close to centres of population around the world. The farms will grow fish from egg to harvest and will include processing facilities.

As well as the work at its facility in Tazewell County, Virginia, the company has previously said that it expected to start work on salmon RAS in Japan and Brunei this year.

Pure Salmon also plans salmon RAS in France and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, five 20,000-tonne facilities in China, and a 20,000-tonne RAS in the land-locked southern African state of Lesotho.

Fish Farming Expert has made several attempts to contact the company for an update on the progress of its projects but has not received a reply.