j Are there monitoring wells for landﬁll gas or groundwa-
ter on the site?
j Is the area covered with invasive plants indicative of
J Perform a document search
j Maps could show land uses that would have been likely
sources of contamination.
j Was it used by a business that employed hazardous
chemicals, such as dry cleaning ﬂuid, paint thinners,
j Was there a gas station or building that would have
used underground tanks for oil?
J Perform regulatory database search and records review for
petroleum spills, institutional/engineering controls, etc.
PHase 2 enVironmenTal siTe assessmenT
This investigation involves soil and groundwater sampling, based on
the outcome of the Phase 1 investigation. The assessment should
follow asTm e 1903-97 (2002). work with the Parks environmental
remediation unit to determine a proper protocol for testing.
J If the Phase 1 investigation identiﬁes a below ground fuel
storage tank, for example, the Phase 2 investigation would
include test pits or even technologies, such as ground pene-
trating radar, to locate buried metal objects, wells to identify
contaminated groundwater and/or groundwater ﬂow direc-
tion, and soil samples to deﬁne the extent of contamination.
J Soil testing locations should be evenly distributed across
the entire site with additional focus on locations of sus-
pected contamination. Sample spacing is dependent on the
potential contaminant sources and the anticipated use area
of the park.
J If buildings are planned, the site should be assessed for
soil gas vapors. If present, the building(s) may need to be
monitored for the presence of these vapors, and if signiﬁ-
cant vent them.
PermiTs anD aPProVals
New park projects usually require one or more permits or
City Environmental quality Review (CEqR)
The ﬁrst step in the environmental review arena is compliance
with the City Environmental Quality Review (CEQR) process
that is administered by the NYCDEP. It is New York City
policy to limit activities that would have negative impacts on
the environment. Park development requires completion of a
seven page Environmental Assessment Statement (EAS) that
requires information on 20 technical areas, including urban
design/visual resources, historic resources, hazardous materi-
als, waterfront revitalization program, and public health. Parks
planning ofﬁce usually leads this process.
The CEQR identiﬁes any potential adverse effects of pro-
posed actions, assesses their signiﬁcance, and proposes mea-
sures to eliminate or mitigate signiﬁcant impacts. Only certain
minor actions (known as Type II actions, see Appendix A below
for commentary) are exempt from environmental review.
If the action is judged not signiﬁcant (see Appendix B below
for commentary), a negative declaration is issued, signaling
completion of the CEQR process. These notices are sent to all
involved or interested agencies, affected community boards,
and elected ofﬁcials. A typical end result of this process is a
memorandum of understanding between Parks and other city
agencies to address areas of concern that are not covered in
speciﬁc regulatory programs such as those discussed below.
If the proposed actions are judged to have signiﬁcant
impact, NYCDPR ﬁles a positive declaration, requiring the
completion of a draft environmental impact statement (EIS).
This is a major undertaking, which will not be described here.
Once the EIS is complete a notice of completion is ﬁled, a
public hearing is held, and a ﬁnal EIS is ﬁled.
When New York State regulations apply to an action, a regu-
latory ofﬁcial may request submittals in compliance with State
Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) requirements, which is
equivalent to the CEQR process. SEQR is not applicable within
New York City, as NYCDEP has been authorized to run the
CEQR program in lieu of SEQR. In this circumstance, NYCDPR
should request NYCDEP guidance on how to proceed.
Examples of permits that may be needed for the develop-
ment of a park are listed.
J The most common permit requirement is the State
Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (SPDES) that
requires the preparation of a Storm Water Pollution
Prevention Plan (SWPPP) for sites greater than one acre,
and for smaller sites under speciﬁc conditions.
j The SWPPP commits Parks to take precautions to
prevent soil erosion.
J Another common permit (issued separately by the
NYSDEC and the US Army Corps of Engineers) is the tidal
wetlands permit, as many of the city’s parks are located
along the 577 miles of coastal lands. Many times this per-
mit is issued concurrently with a navigable waters (excava-
tion and ﬁll) permit and a 401 water quality certiﬁcation.
J Other permits include ones for freshwater wetlands, solid
and hazardous waste management, air pollution control, and
coastal erosion hazard areas.
J Projects in coastal areas and some designated inland
waterways (where local waterfront revitalization programs
have been developed) require a NYS Department of State
(NYSDOS) Coastal Consistency Certiﬁcation.
J In addition to these permits, city agency permits and
approvals are needed, including those from the NYC
Department of Buildings (NYCDOB), and NYCDEP.
work wiTH in-House exPerTs, THen regulaTors, in
ParTicular nYsDec, To DeTermine THe neeD for anD
meTHoDs of remeDiaTion
when working on sites with suspected or conﬁrmed contamination,
it is essential to work with the regulating agencies from the start
of a project—even prior to the start of soil testing and analysis.
Project designers and managers should confer with capital Projects’
environmental remediation staff, who may request assistance from
the nYc ofﬁce of environmental remediation that assists city agen-
cies in addressing contaminated site issues.
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HigH Performance LandscaPe guideLines
Part iv: Best Practices in site systems
J Cooperatively develop clear project goals and objectives
including speciﬁc planned uses of the site and anticipated
sampling, testing, remediation, and construction.
j This allows all parties involved to better understand the
project objectives and testing protocols.
J After the sampling and analysis is complete, identify
acceptable remediation alternatives.
J Clearly identify the interfaces between remediation work
and proposed park construction and maintenance.
J Identify which design elements will need to be coordi-
nated and approved for use with remediation activities.
J Identify protocols for park construction and maintenance
subsequent to the completion of remediation, including
hazardous material handling, testing, and inspection.
j It is likely this will require the use of consulting envi-
ronmental remediation experts and soil scientists to assist
with regulating agency coordination, developing remedia-
tion plans, and the evaluation of alternative remediation
approaches including budgets and schedules.
J Use consulting soil scientists to assist with the
j Site conditions and opportunities for soil reuse
j Analysis of proposed soil capping materials
J Regulators and environmental engineers can be focused
solely on isolating contaminants from human contact. As a
result, soil caps are generically speciﬁed without consider-
ing the ability to support future plantings.
J Improperly speciﬁed capping soils can result in poor
drainage and are susceptible to excessive compaction
during construction, resulting in limited rooting opportuni-
ties not just for trees but for shrubs and grasses. The soil
composition must consider the needs of native species
J If impermeable caps are required to prevent the surface
inﬁltration into contaminated soils, a soil scientist can assist
with proper speciﬁcation of cap placement, slopes, and
cover materials that will allow for viable plantings above the
conDucT soil TesTing anD analYsis
before soils or historic ﬁll are excavated, a chemical analysis of
contaminants must be made of the material for four reasons. first,
construction workers and site personnel have a right to know the
nature of soils with which they are working so that they may wear
appropriate clothing and protective equipment. second, the disposal
sites require the analysis before the material will be accepted. Third,
the analysis will determine whether soils should be excavated and
stockpiled, or loaded directly onto trucks for disposal. if contami-
nated, the soils should not be stockpiled. fourth, the soil may be
clean enough to reuse onsite.
J Work with the Capital Projects’ Environmental
Remediation staff and the regulator to develop a soil testing
grid and protocol based on the examination of the site and
its historic uses.
J DEC prefers soil analysis to include hazardous waste
characteristics (i.e., TCLP analysis), and chemical analysis
for volatiles, semivolatiles, PCBs, pesticides, and metals.
J All activities such as sample collection, transportation,
and sample delivery to the analytical laboratory must be
performed by a New York State qualiﬁed environmental
professional, using approved chains of custody.
J The laboratory must be certiﬁed by the NYS Department
of Health (NYSDOH) under their Environmental Laboratory
Approval Program (ELAP).
J NYSDEC prefers a 50 foot by 50 foot grid of tests two
feet deep. For large areas, the sampling grid distances may
have to be enlarged and the degree of compositing samples
may have to be expanded for budgetary purposes.
J A cost beneﬁt analysis should be conducted in terms of
grid distances. Additional sampling costs that result in bet-
ter contaminant delineation and in decreases in soil removal
and import may lead to signiﬁcant cost savings.
J Sampling is not generally required in areas where existing
soils will not be excavated and where clean soil cover or an
engineered cover (such as buildings, pavement, or impervi-
ous synthetic turf) will be placed.
J See Part 2: Site Assessment.
J See the Calvert Vaux soil sampling protocol, dated
January 27, 2009 (in Part 6: Case Studies) for directions on
how the ﬁrst phase of that project is planned to be sampled
and the samples analyzed.
DisPose of wasTe anD conTaminaTeD soil aPProPriaTelY
The following points provide further guidance on managing
J When excess soil must be managed, NYSDEC prefers
representative samples be collected, using a 50 foot by 50
foot grid, compositing a single sample from four locations
within each grid space, to a depth of two feet below the ﬁnal
J In the case where several feet of excavation are required,
sampling should be similarly conducted at every two feet
J Depending on the results, waste soil would be directed
for disposal to a hazardous, nonhazardous, or unclassiﬁed
(i.e., construction and demolition or municipal solid waste)
J For a nonhazardous or hazardous waste site, a waste pro-
ﬁle form must be completed, certiﬁed by a NYCDPR ofﬁcial,
and submitted to a representative of the disposal site.
J For hazardous wastes, a special RCRA Subtitle C Site
Identiﬁcation Form (US EPA Form 8700-12 found at http://
pdf) must be ﬁlled out and sent to the US EPA Region 2
ofﬁce so that a hazardous waste generator ID number can
j The ID number must be entered on waste proﬁle forms
and waste manifests that are carried to hazardous waste
disposal sites by waste transporters.
Areas of contamination will control the location of new uses,
the soil removal and ﬁll, as well as site access and uses.
inVolVe THe remeDiaTion Design Team in THe Design of
J Remediation and park development should not be treated as
two separate and unrelated activities.
J Close collaboration between the remediation design team
and the park design team or, better yet, integration of the
remediation and park design as a single project can lead to
project efﬁciencies that are mutually beneﬁcial.
J There are signiﬁcant opportunities during the investiga-
tion and remediation planning for maximizing soil reuse, thus
minimizing import of soil.
J Once contaminant results are obtained that sufﬁciently
delineate contaminated areas (in three dimensions), the envi-
ronmental remediation professional involved in the remedia-
tion project can work with the design team to optimize the cut
and ﬁll required for the project.
oPTimiZe use of conTaminaTeD siTes
based on the results of soil sampling and analysis, park programming
and facility construction should be matched to levels of contami-
J For soils areas with elevated contaminant concentra-
tions, features such as artiﬁcial turf, pavement, or buildings
should be considered to serve as appropriate barriers to
J When placing buildings on contained areas, consider-
ation must be given to the potential for vapor intrusion (i.e.,
fumes from the subsurface entering built structures through
the slab, thus contaminating the indoor air or presenting an
J The NYSDOH provides guidance on this issue, and often
special mitigation measures and engineer controls must be
taken to eliminate vapor migration from the subsurface to
the indoor air.
J Areas that exceed the restricted residential Soil Cleanup
Objectives (SCOs) of NYSDEC but meet commercial SCOs
should be selected for passive recreational uses.
j These areas may require one foot of compliant
J Passive recreation areas should be areas “which have
public uses with limited potential for soil contact,” as per
J Special exemptions for areas with mature trees should
be considered regarding the placement of cover soil over
critical roots zones, which will kill trees.
J Areas that exceed the commercial SCOs, upon additional
assessment, may be reserved for wilderness areas or nature
based uses that have restricted human intrusion.
j The designer should be careful to locate only those
activities which meet this deﬁnition such as forested
areas with restricted access, wetlands, or other forever
J Areas meeting the restricted residential SCOs are
appropriate for active recreational uses.
j These areas also include ballﬁelds and soccer ﬁelds.
J Traditional open lawn areas, seating areas, and planting
bed areas, which are typically considered passive recreation,
are considered as active recreation because they have a
greater potential for soil contact.
j These areas may require two feet of compliant
consiDer PreserVaTion of exisTing PlanT colonies
This is extremely difﬁcult because if the site is contaminated, use of
vegetated areas will be restricted.
J Existing plant life on a contaminated site serves
numerous ecological functions.
J Since many contaminated sites are also located in
otherwise industrial or built out areas, existing plant life
represents important green space within a neighborhood.
consiDer PHYToremeDiaTion anD bioremeDiaTion for
conTaminaTeD siTe cleanuP
Phytoremediation and bioremediation are sciences that show great
potential for use in the remediation of contaminated urban soils. it
should be noted that the appropriateness of phyto- and bioremedia-
tion is highly contaminant speciﬁc. metals and recalcitrant organic
compounds are not biodegraded, and often are simply redistributed
by the biological activity of plants or bacteria. in some cases this can
mean that the compounds are concentrated in high levels that could
become dangerous. when compounds are taken up by the plants,
the plant material could cause wildlife and human exposures to the
contaminants. such accumulation scenarios require harvesting and
proper disposal, and can be highly labor intensive and costly. Plants
have been found to volatilize contaminants in the root zone and leaf
stoma, thus creating localized air contamination. experts in envi-
ronmental biotechnology, environmental engineering, environmental
chemistry, botany, as well as landscape architects should be con-
sulted prior to considering such a strategy. The Parks environmental
remediation staff can assist you in ﬁnding more information.
Phyto- and bioremediation should be judiciously used and the
results carefully monitored to determine their efﬁcacy as they are
potentially cost effective methods of remediation.
J A number of projects throughout the United States
and the world have successfully used these techniques to
remediate contaminated soils.
J It may take longer than more conventional approaches,
but often at signiﬁcantly lower cost.
J Careful study is required to determine if this is an
option within the project scheduling parameters and
sPecial consiDeraTions for Parks on former lanDfills
special regulations will apply to a former landﬁll as its landﬁll
designation never expires. it is difﬁcult to get nYsDec approval
for introducing trees and other plants within the engineered cap,
which has permit speciﬁcations to be met now and in the future. it is
likely that certain allowable tree species can be planted, but other
HigH Performance LandscaPe guideLines
Part iv: Best Practices in site systems
volunteer species must be removed. methane exposures will
always be an issue.
consiDer seParaTe conTracTs for siTe remeDiaTion
work anD Park consTrucTion work
Remediation work and park construction are two very different types
of projects that require divergent contractor skill sets. while some
contractors are sufﬁciently experienced to do both types of work, the
pool of potential contractors and, therefore, competitive bidders, is
larger if the work is broken into two separate contracts.
landscaping contractors should be made aware of and follow any
site management plans associated with remediation in order to pre-
vent compromising the remedial efforts and unnecessarily exposing
workers to potential hazardous materials (i.e., co-mingling of con-
taminated and clean ﬁll, preserving the integrity of any geotextiles or
demarcation barriers) This also applies to future maintenance work.
There are a number of other beneﬁts to separating the contracts.
J Remediation work requires signiﬁcantly higher bonding
requirements, the cost of which would have to be borne over
the duration of the park construction if it were issued as a
J If a site has been successfully remediated, subsequent
contract work has a reduced liability and risk, translating
into lower bid pricing.
J Separate contracts limit contractor exposure to site con-
taminants once remediation is complete.
J Isolating traditional site construction from more special-
ized soil remediation construction work acknowledges that a
remediation contractor is not a landscaping subcontractor.
consiDer sTageD resToraTion anD occuPaTion of
J Complete the identiﬁable, noncontaminated, nonwetland
portions of the project ﬁrst; these areas may require fewer or
no permits. Subsequently complete other, speciﬁc projects
that are more likely to require regulatory permits.
J For projects where complete restoration of the site and
construction of a park program may exceed available funding,
consider a staged restoration of the site.
J It may be possible to clean up or contain selected areas to
allow limited access or to introduce phyto- or bioremediation
installations that may begin the restoration of the site to a
more usable state.
J There may be ways to implement signiﬁcant habitat
improvements with staged restoration and occupation of the
site of beneﬁt to the surrounding neighborhood.
fill maTerial imPorTaTion
a typical nYsDec, nYcDeP, and nYcoer requirement for park
development is the importation of soil to ﬁll in areas where waste
had been excavated and disposed offsite, to grade a site for new fea-
tures, and to cover in-place contaminated soils. all agencies require
precautions be taken to assure that only approved materials are
brought to a project site. all agencies also require that representa-
tive samples of the ﬁll be analyzed for the list of parameters listed in
nYsDec’s technical and administrative guidance #4046 (Tagm 4046,
found at http://www.dec.ny.gov/regulations/2612.html) and require
assurance that the ﬁll does not exceed the clean up concentra-
tions listed therein (see appendix c below for commentary). Parks’
challenge is to establish a sampling regime that any agency would
approve. such a regime should include these features:
J Representative samples should be collected and analyzed
under the supervision of Parks or its contractors and not by
the suppliers of the ﬁll.
J Use of a ﬁll source that is plentiful enough for the entire
need of the project, if possible.
J Sampling and analysis at a rate of one per 250 to 1,000
cubic yards of delivered ﬁll, the rate being determined by
DEC based on site speciﬁcs.
J Both agencies will require more frequent sampling when
more than one ﬁll source is required for the project or if the
appearance (e.g., light vs. dark colored, sand vs. rock, moist
vs. dry) of the ﬁll is variable.
J See Appendix D below for additional details.
APPENDIx A—TYPE II CEqR ACTIONS
Type II CEQR actions exempt from CEQR (note: these are
abridged descriptions) include:
J Maintenance or repair that involve no substantial
changes to a structure or facility
J Minor temporary uses of land with negligible or no
permanent effect on the environment
J Construction or expansion of single- to three-family
residences or nonresidential structures of less than
4,000 square feet
J Replacement or rehabilitation of a structure
on the site where it originated
J Maintenance of existing landscaping or native growth
J Expansions of existing educational institutional
structures by less than 10,000 square feet of ﬂoor area
APPENDIx B — PARK DEVELOPMENT AS POSITIVE
Nonsigniﬁcant environmental impacts should be expected
at Park development sites. Park development includes
the removal and remediation of contamination, so this
can only be considered positive.
APPENDIx C— TAGM #4046
It is questionable whether TAGM #4046 standards (estab-
lished in 1994) legally apply to historic ﬁll sites (the predomi-
nant type of material found at NYC parks sites), given that
NYSDEC states the standards apply to Federal Superfund,
State Superfund, 1986 EQBA Title 3 and Responsible Party
(RP) sites, and when NYSDEC determines that cleanup of
such a site to predisposal conditions is not possible or fea-
sible. It is believed that the generally less restrictive standards
of 6 NYCRR Part 375-6(b) (established in 2006 and found
at http://www.dec.ny.gov/regs/15507.html#15513) actu-
ally apply, but until the authority of TAGM #4046 limits are
successfully challenged, both Part 375 and TAGM #4046 are
to be used.
APPENDIx D — FILL MATERIAL IMPORTATION —
Fill material quality is a concern that must be addressed in
order to provide a safe and healthy soil for the development of
a park. The soil must be appropriate for the types of plantings
proposed. It should also not be destructive of the place it is
removed from. In most instances top soils are removed from
construction sites. However, due diligence should be exercised
to prevent stripping of green ﬁeld sites.
Some materials, such as excavated metamorphic rock from
subway line extensions, may require reduced testing due to
the lack of potential exposure to contaminants only found
from human exposure. Other materials, such as excavated
soils from beneath paved airport runways, can be uniform and
consistently clean and could qualify for reduced testing. This
is not the case for fueling or maintenance areas at airports.
A common source of material is from a large development
project, such as the construction of the parking lots for Yankee
Stadium in the Bronx. In these or similar sites, an investiga-
tion into the origin and boundary of a targeted material must
be completed, using historical maps and other documentation.
The current condition and condition at the time of the importa-
tion must be known to avoid inadvertent contamination.
Typically, the soil owner collects a representative sample
or set of samples in the presence of an independent environ-
mental monitor (IEM), and the samples are then taken, under
chain of custody, by the approved laboratory. The IEM may
use appropriate ﬁeld testing equipment such as a photoioniza-
tion detector (PID) for volatile organics, or x-ray ﬂuorescence
(XRF) analyzers for metals in soil. Another control that may be
required to prevent noncompliant ﬁll material being imported
to a project site involves continuous communication between a
NYCDPR contractor at the ﬁll excavation site and a coworker at
the receiving park site. Tracking the license numbers of trucks
leaving and arriving prevents noncompliant trucks from
for furTHer informaTion
f Calvert Vaux Soil Sampling Protocol — Historic Fill Site Summary, Marty
Rowland, et al — January 12, 2009
f Craul, Phillip and Craul, Timothy. Soil Design Protocols for Landscape
Architects and Contractors. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2006.
f Flint Futures, School of Natural Resources and Environment, University
of Michigan Partners: Genesee County Land Bank & Genesse Institute
“Reimagining Chevy in the Hole”, October, 2007. http://www.thelandbank.
f Ford, Kristen. “Re-Imagining the Land: Planning for Brownscape
Redevelopment in the Delaware River Corridor”. Dangermond Fellowship
Project 2007/2008. www.lafoundation.org/documents/ford_analysis.pdf
f Indiana Department of Environmental Management, “The Environmental
Side of the Business of Brownﬁelds.”Brownﬁelds Bulletin: Breaking Down
Barriers to Using Brownﬁelds, Issue 27, 2005. http://www.inchgov/ifa/
f Kirkwood, Niall, Ed. “Manufactured Sites: Rethinking the Post-Industrial
Landscape”, New York: Taylor & Francis, 2001.
f New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and New York
State Department of Health New York State Brownﬁeld Cleanup Program
Development of Soil Cleanup Objectives Technical Support Document, 2006.
f NYS Department of Health, Final Soil Vapor Intrusion Guidance, October
f United States Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation
Service. “Urban Technical Note No. 3 “Heavy Metal Soil Contamination,”
September, 2000. http://soils.usda.gov/sqi/management/ﬁles/sq_utn_3.pdf
f United States Environmental Protection Agency, Green Remediation:
Incorporating Sustainable Environmental Practices into Remediation of
Contaminated Sites document # EPA 542-r-08-002. April 2008. http://www.
f United States Environmental Protection Agency, Road Map to
Understanding Innovative Technology Options for Brownﬁelds Investigation
and Cleanup, Fourth Edition. Document #EPA-542-B-05-001.September
f United States Environmental Protection Agency, Brownﬁelds Technology
Primer: Selecting and Using Phytoremediation for Site Cleanup (EPA 542-R-
01-006), July 2001. http://www.brownﬁeldstsc.org/pdfs/phytoremprimer.pdf
f United States Environmental Protection Agency, Phytoremediation
Resource Guide (EPA 542-B-99-003), June 1999. http://www.clu-inchorg/
f Westphal, Lynn and Isebrands, J.G. “Phytoremediation of Chicago’s
Brownﬁelds: Consideration of Ecological Approaches and Social
f Willey, Neil. “Phytoremediation: Methods and Reviews.” New York:
Humana Press, 2007.
f 6 NYCRR Part 375 — see http://www.dec.ny.gov/docs/remediation_hud-
son_pdf/part375.pdf and http://www.dec.ny.gov/regs/15507.html
f TAGM#4046 — see http://www.dec.ny.gov/regulations/2612.html
f CEQR — see http://www.nyc.gov/html/oec/html/ceqr/ceqrpub.shtml
46 Sourcebook for Landscape Analysis of High Conservation Value Forests. http://www.proforest.
HigH Performance LandscaPe guideLines
Part iv: Best Practices in site systems
Use engineered soils when needed to withstand urban
stresses and conditions where naturally occurring soils are
unable to function.
J The performance of engineered soil is highly predictable
due to the inclusion of installation as part of a complete soil
system from ﬁnished surface down to subgrade.
J Key soil performance criteria can be easily controlled with
manufactured soils including compaction resistance, organic
content, drainage and inﬁltration rates, soil weight, bulk
density, and ﬁltration of pollutants.
J Engineered soils generally make use of derelict materials,
such as sand or stone aggregate and recycled products,
making them highly sustainable products.
J Engineered soils may provide a greater range of design and
construction opportunities than naturally occurring soils.
J The long term maintenance of landscapes that rely on
engineered soils is often less costly than that of naturally
occurring soils that may not be well suited to the
programmatic use of the site.
J Use of manufactured soils requires a speciﬁcally designed
soil material and implementation oversight by experienced
designers or soils scientists to ensure proper installation.
J Manufactured soil procurement costs may be more than
natural topsoil due to controlled mixing.
J The procurement of engineered soils is lengthier than
procurement of naturally occurring soils due to the need for
sourcing and testing of component materials and the develop-
ment of ﬁnal mix proportions.
J Manufactured soils may require specialized testing and
J S.7 Provide Adequate Soil Volumes and Depths
J S.8 Provide Soil Placement Plans as Part of
J W.5 Use Rain Gardens & Bioretention
J W.6 Use Stormwater Planter Boxes
J W.8 Create Green and Blue Roofs
New York City’s parks are unusual in that they are subjected
to a wide variety of programming uses at extremely high levels
of use and require materials that can function under extreme
construction circumstances. Naturally occurring, loam based
soils are often too limited in their carrying capacity (due to
textural classiﬁcation, drainage rates, ﬁltration capacity or
structural performance) to meet some of the more extreme soil
conditions that often needed in the city’s parks. Examples of
these situations include high use lawns and sports ﬁelds, light-
weight green roofs, stormwater quality basins and rain gardens,
and compactable planting soils located below pavement areas
along streets, in plazas and in parking lots.
Engineered soils should be considered as part of a varied
soil design palette available to park designers to meet the
city’s broad open space needs. Because they are designed
and manufactured soil systems, engineered soils are highly
consistent and predictable in the performance, allowing them
to serve long term needs in parks.
Engineered soils have been used for decades around the
world on golf courses and green roofs. They have been used
extensively on New York City parks including such locations
at the Great Lawn in Central Park, Battery Park City, Hudson
River Park, Brooklyn Bridge Park, Metrotec Center, on sports
ﬁelds, for bioretention and stormwater ﬁltration basins, and on
numerous street tree applications.
Today, manufactured soils have been recognized as espe-
cially useful on highly disturbed urban sites or in locations
where basic soil functions cannot be accommodated without
wholesale replacement of the soil including:
J Areas of extensive urban ﬁll exhibiting a variety of horti-
cultural challenges such as poor structure, high pH, poor
drainage, or heavy compaction
J Areas that have or will become heavily compacted due
to construction staging or will be subjected to unavoidable,
irreparable compaction due to exposure to repeated heavy
J Landﬁll or contaminated sites that require capping or
isolation of toxic materials from human contact
Manufactured soils are also commonly used in areas
where specialized site programmatic needs cannot be met
through the use of naturally occurring, loam based soil mixes
J Rooftop or other landscapes over structures that have
signiﬁcant weight restrictions
J Bioﬁltration and constructed wetland areas for stormwater
treatments where soils perform specialized ﬁltration, drain-
age or detention functions
J Constructed wetlands for sanitary treatment
J Compaction resistant lawn areas that are subjected to
soiLs to meet
especially high use or are intended for organized sports
J Stabilized vegetated road beds and parking areas for
emergency vehicles or infrequent parking needs
J Steep slope areas where the soils need to exceed their
natural angle of repose
J Below pavement areas where soils need to be compacted
to support structural loading while still allowing for plant
growth and rooting volume
One of the greatest beneﬁts of manufactured soil use, in
addition to its responsiveness to speciﬁc design requirements,
is that it signiﬁcantly reduces reliance on topsoil that is often
stripped from offsite sources to the detriment of other healthy
landscape areas and then transported to new sites for reuse.
Manufactured soils are largely made up of derelict soil materi-
als such as sands, gravels, expanded clay and shale, and other
aggregates as well as recycled materials such as compost. They
typically only contain a very small amount of naturally occurring
topsoil and, in some cases no soil materials at all. Manufactured
soils therefore are generally considered a sustainable product.47
be aware of wHaT migHT Trigger use of manufacTureD soils
J Lack of onsite resources or soils that cannot
J Programmatic needs such as stormwater management
requiring high inﬁltration and storage rates
J Anticipated high levels of use
J Subsurface constraints such as compaction or lack of
percolation are very common on urban sites.
consiDer imPorTanT earlY Planning anD Process
J Testing of existing onsite soils
J Depths and volume requirements
J Subsurface drainage
J Methods of transport and installation
J Staging approaches
engage THe serVices of an exPerienceD soil scienTisT
J Use a soil scientist to develop standard speciﬁcations
for production of engineered soils and to assist with oversight
during the construction phase.
consiDer a VarieTY of engineereD soil TYPes
There is no one type of engineered soil that meets all high perfor-
J Develop a range of standard speciﬁcations to allow
designers to have a variety of options.
j It should be noted that engineered soils should be used
judiciously in city parks as they are often more expensive
than traditional loam based soils.
j Use engineered soils only when other design solutions
are not possible or appropriate to programming or
levels of use.
J Consider opportunities for recycled materials to be used.
j NYSDOT has speciﬁed recycled crushed glass as
underdrain material in bioretention systems.
consiDer sTrucTural soil for imProVing urban Tree
one of the most pressing needs for engineered soil in parks is the
need for planting soils below pavements. These soils, known as
structural soils, allow trees to be planted and to survive in paved
areas, providing much needed shade and other ecosystem beneﬁts
along streets and in parking lots, urban plazas, playgrounds, and
other gathering areas. The term structural soil was coined by cornell
university (cu) urban Horticulture institute (uHi) to describe their
stone-soil mixed product.
J Structural soil creates a supportive environment for
trees within compacted soils by designing soil mixes that
allow a particle to particle contact (either aggregate or sand
grain) that allows for compaction while maintaining suf-
ﬁcient pore space for root penetration, organic matter, and
water and air movement.
J The term has become widely used to describe similar
systems using a variety of materials.
J Structural soils can be classiﬁed into four different types
j Stone and soil mixes (CU Soil is one type of this kind
of structural soil)
j Lightweight mixes based on internally porous
aggregates (expanded shale or slate)
j Sand based mixes
j Naturally occurring compaction resistant, sandy loams
h It should be noted that some sand based and
naturally occurring sandy loam mixes often achieve
compaction rates less than 95% sometimes ranging
from 88-95%, making them less suitable for support of
vehicular or rigid pavements.
J Each type of structural soil behaves slightly differently
and is constructed in somewhat different ways, providing
designers a variety of ways in which to solve tree and
J Work with a soil scientist to determine which type of soil
is most applicable.
J It should be noted that structural soils are inherently
inferior to loam based soils and should only be used in
situations that cannot be accommodated by strategic
design methods including planting beds, planters, and
other design devices.
DeVeloP a VarieTY of comPacTion resisTanT soils
To accommoDaTe HigH leVels of wear anD surface
compaction resistant soils can accommodate heavy foot or vehicular
trafﬁc without losing critical structure that allows for plant growth.
These soils are generally intended for turfgrass areas and will
deform below vehicular trafﬁc, which is why they are not considered
J Compaction resistant soils are generally sand or sandy
loam based soils used for program needs such as:
Documents you may be interested
Documents you may be interested