GREAT KILLS — The transformation of a former Staten Island landfill into a public park has been started with the planting of the first trees.
"One of the amazing things we get to do is to turn trash to treasure," said Carter Strickland, DEP commissioner. "It's beautiful now."
The DEP said it was on time to complete the first stage of its $287 million remediation project — funded with city and state money — which installed a landfill cap and below-ground barrier.
The barrier should contain any pollutants from site, which operate,d from 1966 until 1980, the DEP said.
The city added 2 million tons of clean soil, up to four feet deep, on top of the barrier, and introduced prairie grass and other plants to prevent erosion and attract birds, the DEP said.
Councilman Vincent Ignizio said the cap will protect the future generations of Staten Island from potential toxins from the landfill, where industrial hazardous wastes were reported to have been illegally dumped there in its last six years of operation.
"We will not have kids that are going to sleep smelling garbage," Ignizio said."
Aside from the barrier and cap, the DEP also plans to add around 76,000 wetland plantings to help preserve the restored 7.3 acres of tidal wetland and 8.8 acres of freshwater wetlands on the site.