Transforming a landfill into park

Lending our expertise to responsibly close the world’s largest solid waste management site

The Fresh Kills Landfill in Staten Island, New York, opened in 1948 and in less than a decade, it became the largest landfill in the world. Spanning approximately 2,200 acres of former marshland, the Fresh Kills site was the repository for most of New York City’s municipal solid waste, receiving up to 13,000 tons of municipal refuse per day. Site and environmental considerations eventually led to the landfill’s decommissioning and closure, and Fresh Kills received its last barge of residential trash in March 2021. During the landfill closure process, we provided construction management (CM), quality assurance (QA) and other services to the Waste Management Engineering division of the New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY).

Meeting rigorous regulations and compliance standards

Our teams provided CM, QA testing, regulatory, engineering and constructability reviews of the final cover’s design specifications, along with oversight of resident engineers and contractors during closure construction. Our team also delivered 13 engineer-certified Construction Certification Reports that met all requirements of the project’s quality plan and New York state regulations, including safety compliance and data management.

Construction involved installing a geocomposite gas-venting layer, closed gas vents, a 40-mil linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) geomembrane, a geocomposite and/or geotextile drainage net layer, and placing 24 inches of barrier protection fill, six inches of planting soil, and seeding and erosion protection materials. Downchutes, swales, embankments, and inlets made up the stormwater drainage system. A 525-acre landfill gas (LFG) collection system was also installed.

Positively impacting Staten Island and planting the seed for a greener future

The final certification of the Fresh Kill’s closure was announced in May 2022, a critical step in converting this from a solid waste management site to open green space. Our closure supervision provided the basis to safely redevelop the land for an end-use landscaping plan that incorporated a permanent, stabilizing ground cover that can be used for long-term placement of herbaceous and woody plant communities. Our team’s deep experience in CM, QA, database management and safety services helped DSNY deliver environmental justice and equity for the residents of Staten Island, providing a positive impact for generations to come.