Phillip Gleason’s work toward the end of the Fresh Kills Landfill began decades ago. On Tuesday, the Department of Sanitation’s Assistant Commissioner for Waste Management Engineering saw that work come to fruition. State and city officials gathered atop one of the site’s massive mounds to celebrate the New York Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) final certification of the landfill’s closure. For Gleason, the milestone marked the latest step toward transforming the site into the city’s largest public park.

“There’s still a lot more work that has to get done,” he said pointing to the continuous monitoring and maintenance of the area that still needs to occur before the site becomes a fully-functioning 2,200-acre park.

Those 2,200 acres were part of what became the largest landfill in the world after its founding in 1948. It is now the largest landfill-to-park transformation project on Earth. Since the landfill’s operational peak in 1986, the city has invested $980 million to safely close the landfill for its transformation to parkland.

Part of that work included covering, or “capping,” the landfill with different layers of soil, and a variety of permeable fabrics and liners, according to the Department of Sanitation (DSNY).

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Author: Paul Liotta,
Image: Staten Island Advance/Paul Liotta,