Capping Landfills With Nature Preserves

The Dirt (ASLA) covered this story a while ago, but I am still bothered by this solution to an old landfill in Brooklyn. They capped the landfill with a layer of plastic and applied 3′ of good soil over top. Andropogon did an excellent job (and should rightly be praised) for their push to use trees and naturalized meadow flowers and grasses rather than the traditional lawn. However, I would never call this a remediation or a solution.

Base flow and ground water is still going to be severely affected by the abandoned and buried trash. The water quality contributing to the local watershed is still going to be compromised and degraded. It’s nice that a habitat was able to form and wildlife is beginning to return to the site, but it’s still just a short-term solution.

Landscape Architects may have a bigger role in addressing closed landfills in the future. Now that the environmental movement is picking up real speed, reclaiming the land for cultural uses will be important. But is there no way of truly treating and remediating the site to reverse the footprint (instead of simply painting over it)?

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