For most of the public, landfills are simply places to toss trash and anything else they no longer want or need. However, for some developers, there’s a way to transform those properties into new communities and in-demand spaces.
Related Cos. is one such developer. The company, responsible for the Hudson Yards project in Manhattan, recently won approval from the Santa Clara (CA) City Council to move forward with its plans for a 240-acre, $6 billion, 9-million-square-foot mixed-use development on a city landfill. If all goes well for Related, residents will soon see construction underway on a 40-acre “village” of retail and residential space, as well as a few hundred acres of office campus space.
But just how common is it to build on landfills? And what types of obstacles stand in the way for developers looking to repurpose these sites?
Challenges for development 发展挑战
“There have been a number of projects built on landfills all over the country,” said attorney Dennis Toft of New York City-New Jersey law firm Chiesa Shahinian & Giantomasi. Not all landfills are created equal, he said, and there are challenges in developing them from regulatory, engineering and health and safety or risk management standpoints. However, Toft added that all of these issues can be managed.
纽约市-新泽西州律师事务所Chiesa Shahinian & Giantomasi的律师丹尼斯·托夫特说：“全国各地都有许多在垃圾填埋场上建造的项目。 ” 他说，并非所有垃圾填埋场都是平等的，从监管、工程、健康和安全或风险管理的角度来看，开发它们存在挑战。然而，托夫特补充说，所有这些问题都是可以管理的。
“Everyone is afraid of the unknown, but, on the flipside, you have these large tracts of land — frequently owned by municipalities or by people who are no longer managing them — that can be very attractive for redevelopment,” he said.
“每个人都害怕未知，但另一方面，你拥有这些大片土地—— 通常由市政当局或不再管理它们的人拥有—— 这对重建非常有吸引力”。
Site preparation 场地准备
A major challenge to repurposing a landfill for a commercial or residential use project, according to Anna Amarandos with Rutan & Tucker in California, is remediation and preparing the site for development. However, she said, if everything is done correctly, there’s no reason a landfill site can’t be used for residential and commercial buildings. “But you can’t just come in and put something down over landfill waste,” Amarandos said.
根据加利福尼亚州Rutan & Tucker的Anna Amarandos 的说法，将垃圾填埋场重新用于商业或住宅用途项目的主要挑战是整治和准备开发场地。然而，她说，如果一切都做得正确，垃圾填埋场没有理由不能用于住宅和商业建筑。“但你不能只是进来在垃圾填埋场上放下一些东西，”阿马兰多斯说。
Two of the major issues when prepping a landfill site for building are dealing with gases that emanate from the site and subsidence, or sinking and settling of the land as waste decomposes. As the waste sinks and settles over time, not only do depressions develop on the surface of the site, but leachate, or liquid, passes through the waste carrying contaminants as it goes, possibly spoiling ground water and the surrounding soil.
In addition, gas or vapors from the decomposing material works its way into surrounding soil and then up and out of the ground. If there are no structures on top of the site, the gas releases into the air. If it’s trapped by a building’s foundation, the result can be a dangerous accumulation of gas.
To mitigate the risk, contractors can install a permeable layer of gravel, which provides a pathway of escape for gas, and then a membrane underneath the slab of a building, Amarandos said. The gas can then be piped out from underneath the building, up the sides and then released at rooftop level. In California, she said, developments within 1,000 feet of a landfill must use some vapor mitigation method.
Amarandos 说，为了降低风险，承包商可以安装一层可渗透的砾石层，为气体提供逃逸通道，然后在建筑物的楼板下方安装一层膜。然后，气体可以从建筑物下方、侧面向上排出，然后在屋顶水平释放。她说，在加利福尼亚州，垃圾填埋场 1,000 英尺范围内的开发项目必须使用某种蒸汽缓解方法。
As far as the waste is concerned, it’s common for developers to move the waste, consolidate it and then encapsulate it away from where buildings will be constructed, according to Amarandos. If there is no other option than to build directly over waste material, contractors must anchor the foundation into solid ground beneath the waste with, for example, a deep foundation with piles.
根据 Amarandos 的说法，就废物而言，开发商通常会将废物转移、合并，然后将其封装在远离建筑物的地方。如果除了直接在废料上建造之外别无选择，承包商必须将地基锚定在废料下方的坚实地面上，例如，用桩的深地基。
Lengthy timetables 冗长的时间表
Perhaps the biggest obstacle to such a project, though, is the time it takes to get up and running. “I always tell my clients they need to anticipate a very lengthy timeframe for getting the approvals needed,” Amarandos said. This doesn’t discourage many of her clients, however, who have their sights set on landfills in desirable areas for development. “Some of my clients are pretty experienced with complex projects like these, and they don’t scare easily,” she said.
This, Toft said, is most likely the case with Related and the Santa Clara site. “They wouldn’t be doing this if they hadn’t figured out a way to do it safely and cost-effectively,” she said.