Broward County recognized for making landfill into park

The United States EPA honored Broward County, Florida, with the EPA Region 4 Excellence in Site Reuse award for redeveloping the former Davie Landfill Superfund site, once referred to by some as “Mount Trashmore,” into the Vista View Park. This is only the second award of its type to be awarded by the EPA.

Broward County saw the potential for the site of the former landfill that operated between 1964 and 1987 to be used as a park early on, even before EPA encouraged the reuse of Superfund sites. While the county closed the landfill and cleaned up the site under EPA oversight, it installed much of the infrastructure (roads, stormwater drainage, landscaping, etc.) for the site to eventually be used as a park. Five or more years passed after the landfill was closed before the county obtained enough funding to complete the park.

The Vista View Park opened in July 2003. The park’s popularity led the county to purchase more land around it and expanded it in November 2009.

The 210 acre Davie Landfill site originally housed a garbage incinerator for the county. The incinerator closed in 1975, and a sanitary landfill was constructed on the site for disposal of municipal solid waste, construction debris, tires and other waste materials. A sludge lagoon on the site was used to dispose of grease trap pump-out material, septic tank sludge and treated municipal sludge from 1971 until 1981. The lagoon was closed in 1981 after the sludge contaminated ground water, and the sanitary landfill was closed in 1987. In 1989, Broward County excavated, dewatered, and stabilized the contaminated sludge from the lagoon, placed it within a cell in the sanitary landfill, and constructed a cap over the cell with a protective cover. Due to the low levels of groundwater contamination detected, EPA and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) determined that the contaminants could be addressed by natural processes with regular monitoring of the groundwater. Groundwater cleanup standards were achieved by September 2003. The site was removed from the National Priorities List in 2006 and, since then, the EPA and DEP have continued to monitor the site to ensure its safety.