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I started this project in 2011 photographing in the outskirts of the William T. Davis Wildlife refuge and around the Freshkills Landfill. It was not fully open to the public yet and all the mounds of trash was not fully remediated then. What was then Freshkills Landfill, one of the largest Landfills in the World, is now a beautiful 2,200 acres of park land. All of New York City’s residential trash was brought here. The Landfill was in operations from 1948 to 2001 when it closed and began it’s clean up. This is one of the most successful and innovative Landfill to Park remediation projects in such a grand scale. 


It wasn’t until 2018 when I started volunteering for the Freshkills Park Alliance and NYC parks and Recreations, as a photographer and attended their public tours of the park. It was astonishing the current sustainable design, to what I’ve seen in the landfill’s history and timeline.It is with this park’s design and remediation that can make the difference in sustainability. I attended as many tours as I could so I could document the many areas available to us to observe. The vast landscape, a green meadow that hardly felt like you were in Long Island and 3 times as big as Central Park. It was beautiful. It is hard to imagine that 29,000 tons of garbage was brought here every day, and now it was below our feet. There is the North, South, West, and East mound, that are all covered and remediated. On each mound, you can see many gas wellheads stationed to extract and monitor CO2 coming from the trash below. Since 2012-2018, CO2 has been extracted from the ground, into a nearby plant on site. It is captured at the plant and transferred to the nearest National Grid and supplied to nearby homes with gas and heating. 


Throughout the park there are also many water wells which monitor and measure the water’s contamination level. It is mainly to monitor the freshwater below and the Leachate that develop at the bottom of the capped landfill. Leachate is the result of water and residue contamination of the landfill. This is when contamination can happen in fresh water and can leak into the wetlands. 


Freshkills park stands as the example of many landfills to remediate, this is one of the solutions that’s a positive step to a brighter and more sustainable future. We can look and observe this park, research and change, the aspects that can be refined. It is the path to a hopeful and sustainable future. 


A steel wall barricade stands at the edge of the river path to the Wild refuge. This is where all the trash was hauled from New York city and dump here first, before heading to the landfill. 

Mounds of dirt still stands here where Dump trucks and Bulldozers would take the trash to the massive landfill. 

Steel shipping containers lay stacked, side by side, abandoned. Once they were used to fill it with tons of trash, every day. Now, nature has taking over them.  

A gas wellhead on the West Mound of the park stand almost sculptural, a solution to extract the CO2 from the trash below. 

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Tall Grassland surrounding Freshkills park, overlooking the wetlands and the William T. Davis Wildlife Refuge. You can see the Well between the tall grass meadows, it monitors the groundwater below the capped Landfill. 

South mound. It is a prairie field of beautiful flowers and tall grass, a mere contrast to the mound of trash there used to be. 

The plant station at the park where the CO2 and Leachate is captured, remediated, and transferred to the nearest National Grid. It is there that it gets transferred to nearby homes, providing heat and gas. 

Smokestacks of the plant station in the park. Some CO2 has been released into the air while captured from the ground. The amount is unknown. 


Phragmites stand tall in many areas of the park. It is a common Reed Grass which is invasive. It is a sustainable material and can be used for roofing, feeding livestock and papermaking. Goats were brought to the park to clear and reduce the phragmites.  

Below the West mound looking North. 

Top of North mound with White wood Astor and Sea Lavender flowers. 

It feels like the middle of the country, a farm surrounded by tall grass land, a mere contrast of what it used to be, the largest landfill in the country. 

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