Pelham Bay Landfill site improvement process moving forward

Pelham Bay Landfill site improvement process moving forward
Schneps Media / Steven Goodstein

‘Something’s rotten’ off Eastchester Bay and on Thursday, October 10, Community Board 10’s Parks and Recreation Committee held a meeting at their office on 3165 E. Tremont Avenue to receive an update on the decomposing mountain of trash that constitutes the Pelham Bay Landfill.

The meeting was attended by CB 10 board members, residents, Councilman Mark Gjonaj and Pelham Bay Park administrator Marianne Anderson, who led a slideshow presentation to provide an update on the status of the site.

Anderson said there is a collaborative effort underway by several city agencies – the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation and the NYC Department of Environmental Protection – that has resulted in recent remedial improvements, such as improved groundwater quality and reduction in leachate quantity, from 12,000 to 3,000 gallons per day.

These improvements have resulted in less stringent mandatory reporting and sampling frequency requirements over the past few years.

However, the Parks and Recreation is currently awaiting the EPA’s approval of two city petition requests – a work plan for decommissioning and demolition of the majority of the leachate management system, and direct discharge of rain water into Eastchester Bay.

Another concern for the site is the condition of the seawall, which was damaged by Hurricane Irene in 2011 and Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

As a result of these storms, sections of the protective seawall eroded and some of the fence footings have became exposed, threatening the site’s security and increasing the chance of a fence collapse. An eight-foot tall, 4,000-foot long perimeter fence encircles the former dump. The edge of the landfill cap liner was also exposed by the storms.

The design and construction of the seawall repairs are to be managed by a capital engineering contract. The reconstruction of the seawall is expected to begin in the summer of 2022, with completion set for the end of summer 2024.

Anderson, who represented NYC Parks at the meeting, said that she was happy to be able to provide an update on the landfill.

Under the authority of the NYC Department of Sanitation, the site accepted household waste from 1963 until 1978. In 1982 the state placed the landfill on the list of Inactive Hazardous Waste Sites. DOS transferred jurisdiction of the site to the DEP in 1991.

DEP completed remediation activities in 1998, which included the installation of a plastic containment cap over the entire site, as well as the installation of landfill gas collection, flare, stormwater management and leachate collection systems.

In 2010, the DEC re-classified the landfill to allow for limited access, before DEP transferred jurisdiction of the landfill to Parks and Recreation in the summer of 2013. Parks intends to convert the site to passive parkland with public access eventually.

The 95-acre landfill site includes 81 acres that are covered with fill. The peak’s elevation rises 130 feet above sea level.