The Fountain Avenue Landfill is located on property that is owned by the National Park Service, south of the Belt Parkway between Hendrix Creek and Old Mill Creek. The site was operated by the New York City Department of Sanitation (NYCDOS) as a municipal waste and construction and demolition debris landfill from 1962 to 1985. Testimony in 1982, by a driver/dispatcher for the Hudson Refining Co. before the NYS Senate Select Committee on Crime, indicated that waste oil sludges, metal plating wastes, lacquer and solvents were illegally disposed at several New York City Landfills, including Fountain Avenue. The exact quantity and location of wastes are unknown, but it has been estimated that over one million gallons of hazardous waste may have been disposed. In its last year of operation, 1985, an average of 8,200 tons of trash arrived there each day - some 40 percent of the city's refuse.
Interim cover material has been placed on the landfill, and as a measure to restrict access to the site, fencing was placed at the property border along the Belt Parkway. The Remedial Investigation / Feasibility Study (RI/FS) for this site has been completed, and the Record of Decision (ROD) was issued in February 1995. The ROD requires capping of the landfill and active gas collection. The design of the selected remedy commenced in February 1995 and was completed in November 2000. Construction of the cap is was completed in 2007. A final engineering report will be prepared and the site will enter the site management phase. The City doesn't expect completion of this process unitl the fall of 2008. The site management plan has been prepared and submitted.
As part of a a $200 million project, the city's Department of Environmental Protection covered the Fountain Avenue Landfill and the neighboring Pennsylvania Avenue Landfill with a layer of plastic, then put down clean soil and planted 33,000 trees and shrubs at the two sites. The result is 400 acres of nature preserve, restoring native habitats that disappeared from New York City long ago. The first seeds were laid down in 2004 on the Pennsylvania Avenue Landfill, followed a year later by the first plantings of shrubs and trees. All told, the ecological portion of the landfill project cost about $20 million. A spokeswoman for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation said the Fountain Avenue and Pennsylvania Avenue Landfills, currently listed as a "significant threat to the public health or environment," could be reclassified by spring of 2010 as safe for public access, requiring only continued monitoring of their conditions.
Site Environmental Assessment
Studies indicate that leachate from the landfill is contaminating groundwater and Jamaica Bay. Construction of the cap was completed in 2007. The site will now enter the Site Management phase. Site Health Assessment
Air sampling on the landfill and at downwind locations indicates the landfill has not affected levels of volatile organic contaminants in ambient air. Groundwater in the area is not used for potable water, but contaminated groundwater will eventually discharge into Jamaica Bay tidal waters. PCB levels in samples of fish and shellfish collected from areas adjacent to the landfill and from several areas in Jamaica Bay were well below the FDA tolerance level of 2.0 ppm. Shellfishing and swimming are prohibited because of bacteriological contamination. The site is fenced and guarded to minimize access. Contaminants of Concern
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