The transformation of the former Puerto Rico dump into the Gov. Eloy S. Inos Peace Park has garnered international attention by the American Society of Civil Engineers.
The ASCE represents more than 150,000 members of the civil engineering profession in 177 countries and stands at the forefront of engineering with specific emphasis on protecting and restoring the natural environment.
The article, titled “Landfill transformed into Peace Park,” was written by Dr. Catherine Cardno and highlighted the peace park as a successful Brownfield reclamation project. A Brownfield is an abandoned or underutilized industrial facility.
Cardno noted that the former landfill is now a “highly visible and inviting destination,” which serves as a model of compliance to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Gov. Ralph DLG Torres said that the planning and execution of the peace park was monumental, despite the many obstacles in redeveloping it.
“The former Puerto Rico landfill is a testament to successful engineering and renews our commitment to eliminating pollution and preserving our environment. I commend the Capital Improvement Program, our federal partners, the engineering team, and the contractors for advocating the improvement of our infrastructure and their stewardship toward solving this issue,” Torres said.
The landfill grew to a 90-foot mound containing an estimated 1.75 million cubic yards of waste until its eventual closure in 2003.
The $27.2-million project was completed last March. It has now been transformed into a parkland featuring the installation of a thick liner system and an extensive storm-water drainage and tribar revetment protection system.
Paul Baron, P.E., who served as the principal of the project, cited the magnitude of structural engineering and construction management involved in the park’s completion.
Baron also noted the site’s prominent features such as walking paths, landscaping, and pavilions, where visitors can view sunsets over the Philippine Sea and Pacific Ocean along the western lagoon.
CIP administrator Virginia Villagomez noted that the passive park illustrates what can be achieved when federal and territorial governments work collaboratively to solve a longstanding community problem.
“As we continue to improve our infrastructure and economy, we have drastically reduced and mitigated the contaminated water into the lagoon, protected the slopes from erosion, continue to collect and safely vent landfill gas, and provided public access while meeting full compliance with the EPA’s requirements,” Villagomez said. (PR)