Fresh Kills landfill's closure certified as transition into massive park continues

STATEN ISLAND (WABC) -- New York City officials announced the final certification of the closure of the Fresh Kills landfill, the latest step to completing the largest landfill-to-park project in the world.

The announcement came Tuesday, nearly 20 years after the landfill received its final piece of debris from Ground Zero and months ahead of the opening of North Park, the first major phase of what will become a 2,200-acre park.

"There is no better cure for New York City's recovery than our parks and open spaces. By transforming Fresh Kills landfill into a park, we are supporting that recovery and providing New Yorkers with access to clean, new green spaces," Mayor Eric Adams said. "This certification is a major milestone in delivering environmental justice and equity for the people of Staten Island, and the collaboration of DEC, DSNY, and Parks will benefit all New Yorkers."

Since 1986, the Department of Sanitation has invested $980 million to safely and responsibly close Fresh Kills landfill. The landfill has been closed in sections, with each covered with a landfill cap made of different layers of soil, geotextiles, and a geomembrane.

After the World Trade Center attack of September 11, 2001, the state consent order closing the landfill was amended, and the Department of Sanitation - working with the NYPD, FBI, and others - sifted and processed 1.2 million tons of debris from the World Trade Center site at Fresh Kills through July 15, 2002. These materials are now between two layers of clean soil within a clearly marked 48-acre section of Fresh Kills.

The NYC Department of Sanitation completed the closure construction of the Fresh Kills Landfill on December 23, 2021, and the state Department of Environmental Conservation certified this work on May 4, 2022. NYC Sanitation will continue its post-closure monitoring and maintenance as the site continues its years-long transition to a park.

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