|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.
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.
It is hoped that one day the infrastructure of Fresh Kills made up
of mounds of landfill, roadways, intact wetlands and wildlife habitats
will become transformed into a useful piece of land.
| 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.