Agriculture Street Landfill Solar Park

Historic PhotoThe Agriculture Street Landfill in New Orleans served as a municipal waste disposal area from approximately 1909 through 1957 and reopened from 1965 to 1966 for emergency purposes after Hurricane Betsy. The Landfill is in the Desire Neighborhood and was developed during the 1970s and 1980s for residential purposes.

In 1994, the Agriculture Street Landfill was designated a Superfund site by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). EPA’s Region 6 completed remediation activities at the landfill in 2002. The remediation work included placing a protective geotextile fabric and 24 inches of clean soil over private property and a geotextile fabric and 18 inches of clean fill over areas not covered by sidewalks.

For more information about the Agriculture Street Superfund Site go to EPA’s website.

Consent Decree

A 2008 Consent Decree between the City of New Orleans and EPA requires the City to conduct semi-annual maintenance (mowing and fence repair) of the fenced portion of the Agriculture St. Landfill Superfund Site. In 2022, the City increased the mowing frequency of the undeveloped properties and repaired the fence as needed. The increased maintenance practices are ongoing.

In addition, the City is required to mail an annual notice to residents living near the landfill to remind them of the following: excavating more than 18 inches into the ground is restricted; the geotextile fabric in place helps to prevent accidental exposure to contaminants; soil below the geotextile mat is contaminated and should not be handled without gloves or other protective gear; the geotextile fabric is marked with a bright orange plastic liner and is visible if encountered; the fence surrounding the undeveloped property is in place for your protection, therefore, trespassers are subject to prosecution; and, call 311 if you see illegal dumping near the site. Additionally, special precautions should be taken if any work occurs on or near the site.

Gordon Plaza is one of the subdivisions developed on the former landfill. For many years, the residents of Gordon Plaza have petitioned the City of New Orleans to buy their properties and pay for moving costs to homes outside of the Desire neighborhood. The Mayor’s Office established the Gordon Plaza Task Force for which meetings were convened by City Council of New Orleans. The forum provided members of the community with a voice in negotiations in the City-led voluntary buyout and relocation process. The residents' voices were heard, and buyouts began in summer 2023. Sixty-two of the 67 properties have been purchased by the City. Several more properties are in various stages of the purchasing process.

Proposed redevelopment includes a sustainable community solar farm that would increase the City’s power resilience, minimize greenhouse gas emissions, and provide residents and businesses with affordable energy as established in the City’s 2022 Climate Action Plan.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provided technical resources through the Superfund Program which funded the science and engineering work involved in developing a solar farm project Feasibility Study. The Study estimates that with a minimum of 40-acres of property, building the solar farm would cost approximately $10M. The City has allocated $2M in bond funds towards developing the solar park project. EPA updated a site Reuse Assessment in Summer 2022 which identified several options for placement of the solar farm and placement of other future resources such as electric vehicle charging stations.