Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Opened as a "temporary landfill" in 1947, The Fresh Kills Landfill covers 2200 acres, can be seen with the naked eye from space and is taller then the Statue of Liberty, at a height of 225 ft. It is situated on the western shore of Staten Island and is made up of four sections which contain fifty plus years of landfill, mostly in the form of household waste. The waste disposed at the Fresh Kills Landfill and the decomposition products of this waste contain numerous chemicals. The chemicals can enter into the environment in a variety of ways: releases into the air from barge unloading and garbage trucks unloading; the cement crushing trucks releases chemical dust into the air; and into the local groundwater by leaching.
Originally the land was like the rest of the northwest Staten Island. The land was a salt of intertidal marsh. The topography was low-lying with a subsoil of clay and soils of sand and silt. The remainder of the land was originally farmland, either actively farmed or abandoned and in stages of succession. It is not a wholly natural environment but has developed its own ecology. There exist forests, tidal wetlands and freshwater wetlands alone with four mounds of landfill. This is a clear example of how nature has adapted to unnatural surroundings. The Isle of Meadows located at the mouth of the Fresh Kills Estuary is a source of ideal materials for herons constructing nests. The landfill lies on the Atlantic Flyway which is a path used each spring and fall by many species of birds as they migrate to the north and south.
The landfill had operated under a series of federal consent orders. There has been a great deal of controversy surrounding the legality of the landfill but the dump remained open despite court battles. Fresh Kills was unlined and it leached thousands of pounds of toxic chemicals and heavy metals into nearby waterways. The odors emitted from Fresh Kills were all too familiar to those who lived in neighborhoods on Staten Island. However, the site has supposedly been highly engineered with many different systems put in place to protect the health of the citizens and the environment.
The landfill officially closed in 2001. In late 2001 the landfill began receiving the ruins of the World Trade Center catastrophe. It was used as a work station for those who were involved in searching for any clues, remains and remnants from what was a horrific terrorist attack. All refuse was shipped via barges to Fresh Kills where it was trucked to a section of the landfill. A virtual city was constructed for those workers and volunteers, police and federal investigators who worked tirelessly to bring closure to a terrible tragedy. Through assembly lines, every bit of debris was gone through searching for human remains and clues. Fresh Kills now remains the resting place of all the was destroyed at the during World Trade Center disaster.
Fresh Kills Park will be three times the size of Central Park. It will consist of a variety of public spaces and facilities for a multitude of activity types. The site is large enough to support many sports and programs including nature trails, horseback riding, mountain biking, community events, outdoor dining, sports fields and canoeing.
at 5:55 PM