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Projects & Proposals > Staten Island > Fresh Kills Printer Friendly Version
Fresh Kills Park Project
Introduction | Project History | About the Site | Draft Master Plan
Project Phasing | FAQs | Get Involved!

Frequently Asked Questions about Fresh Kills

Where is Fresh Kills?
Fresh Kills is located along the Arthur Kill on Staten Island's western shore. It encompasses the Fresh Kills Estuary and the Isle of Meadows. It is bounded on the north by Victory Boulevard and Travis Avenue, to the east by Richmond Avenue, and in the south by Arthur Kill Road. The West Shore Expressway (Rte. 440) bisects the entire site in a north/south direction.

Where does the name 'Fresh Kills' come from?
‘Kill' is derived from old Dutch and means stream, brook or channel. The usage of the word ‘kill' is seen frequently in place names throughout New York City and State where early Dutch settlement occurred.  It is thought that the name Fresh Kills is derived from the historical natural features of the site which, prior to landfilling, was dominated by a vast tidal wetland fed by fresh water springs and streams. It was not uncommon to use ‘fresh' when naming places with such springs.  Fresh Kills, specifically, appeared as a place name by 1750.

How big is Fresh Kills and how old is it?
The Fresh Kills Landfill began receiving waste in 1948. The original site encompassed almost 3,000 acres. Over the years many of these properties have been relinquished for parks and other public uses. Since 1980 the site boundaries have constricted to encompass about 2,200 acres, with only 1,200 acres used to bury and mound garbage. At 2,200 acres, the Fresh Kills site is roughly 2.5 times the size of Central Park and takes up approximately 11 percent of Staten Island land area.

I would very much like the opportunity to do a walking tour of the site. Is that presently possible?
The Department of Parks & Recreation is providing free bus tours of the Fresh Kills site. Please visit for further information.

What have people suggested for the future of Fresh Kills and how will their suggestions be used?
Through phone calls and e-mails and at a series of public outreach meetings and workshops hosted by the Department of City Planning, citizens have proposed a wide variety of ideas for Fresh Kills. These include: development of new roads connecting the West Shore Expressway (Rt. 440) and Richmond Avenue to improve local circulation and provide public access to the site; active and passive recreational uses such as mountain biking, golf, ballfields, tennis courts, hiking trails and bridle paths; non-motorized, waterborne recreation such as kayaking and canoeing; and environmental programs and a wildlife refuge. Other suggestions have included an observatory, a dude ranch, a model airplane field and camping facilities.

Some residents think the site should house alternative energy facilities, like wind-driven generators, in addition to the landfill gas extraction and processing plant which currently produces energy for heating and cooking in Staten Island homes. Others have suggested community and cultural uses, such as museums, educational and research centers, theaters, an outdoor cinema, market areas and community meeting halls.

As part of the planning process the Department of City Planning and its consultants used this information and other suggestions to inform the Draft Master Plan. There are constraints to the site that make some suggestions more feasible than others, but all are being investigated by the design and planning team.

I have noticed that there are not as many odors coming from Fresh Kills. Why is that and will this continue to be the case when it is a park?
Landfill odors are caused by decaying garbage that is handled and buried at the site. As there is no new garbage arriving, odor from the landfill handling operations should stop. As for the buried waste, these odors are carried from the site by landfill gas (LFG). Since 1999 most of these gases have been controlled by a gas collection system and either burned or cleaned to make natural gas for use in Staten Island. While any gas emissions are below the regulatory requirements, some gas does escape from the system. Placement of the final cover on the North and South Mounds is complete and currently underway on the East and West Mounds. As final cover continues to be placed over the landfill, these gas emissions will continue to diminish until, essentially, all the gas will be captured by the system.

How long will systems be monitored?
It is anticipated that it will take a minimum of thirty years before garbage decomposition is complete, associated gas production and settlement cease, and leachate fully drains from the site. As these processes occur, there will be a continuing need for regular maintenance, monitoring and evaluation of the site and systems that have been put into place, primarily the final cover, landfill gas (LFG) and leachate systems, as well as the extensive network of monitoring wells. It is essential that access to these systems be preserved during this time for inspection, maintenance and repair.

Why isn't the City moving the WTC materials as some family groups have requested?
The City evaluated numerous complex issues and varying perspectives in its consideration of the proposal to remove WTC materials from Fresh Kills. These included review of the exhaustive recovery efforts previously undertaken, the logistics of removal and capacity to identify an alternative receiving site. The City listened to and considered proposals from members of the WTC Families for Proper Burial and differing views of other families who lost loved ones on September 11, 2001. Given this information, the City has determined that it would be best not to disturb the materials from the World Trade Center remaining at Fresh Kills.

During the 10-month recovery effort rescue workers carefully screened and sifted the 1.2 million tons of material that came from the WTC site to Fresh Kills. The search effort did not end until all discernable remains and effects were removed and taken to the New York City Medical Examiners office for identification and safekeeping. Memorial Park, adjacent to the medical examiners office, is the temporary resting place of the WTC remains. The identification effort continues with more than half of the roughly 20,000 found remains matched to victims by fall 2004.

After the FBI, NYPD, and Office of Emergency Management determined the process of retrieval had been exhaustive and complete the screened and sifted WTC materials remaining at Fresh Kills were placed in a 48-acre area (the materials area) immediately adjacent to the recovery site on the West Mound (Section 1/9) at Fresh Kills. A layer of clean soil at least 1 foot deep was placed in this area prior to placement of the screened materials; afterward it was covered with additional clean soil to protect the site and control erosion. The area is clearly marked to prevent disturbance.

The screened material sifted during the course of the recovery effort included fines, materials that passed through a quarter-inch sieve. These fines amounted to approximately 360,000 480,000 tons. It is this material, estimated to be equivalent in volume to 1 acre, 200 feet high, which the City has been asked to move. Aside from the sheer quantity of materials involved, and the absence of a receiving site, the City understands that there are 9-11 families who are opposed to disturbing the 48 acre site on the West Mound.

The City, therefore, is proceeding, with input from the victims families and other interested citizens, on preliminary designs for an appropriately respectful treatment of the WTC materials area, and a monument at the adjoining recovery site. The consultant preparing the Fresh Kills Draft Master Plan has proposed a processional earthwork mirroring the forms of the Twin Towers for the top of the West Mound, and outside the WTC materials area, in an expansive wildflower meadow. The final plan for the monument will be developed as part of the larger master planning public process. The city is committed to an on-going dialogue with all interested citizens.

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