World Trade Center Forensic Recovery

Client:  Richmond County, Staten Island, New York

Service: Recovery


Richmond County, Staten Island, New York

PJE Role

Prime Contractor

Date Completed

August 2002

Project description

The September 11, 2001, terrorist attack on the World Trade Center towers in New York City produced the most complex debris field in the Nation’s history. As the USACE’s Advanced Contracting Initiative (ACI) Contractor for Debris Management, P&J was tasked with: strategic planning for debris removal and disposal, monitoring activity at the World Trade Center site (Ground Zero), development of a back-up plan for Ground Zero, and monitoring activity at the Staten Island Landfill where the debris was being hauled.

PJE’s Contribution

A few days after this initial tasking, the New York City Office of Emergency Management requested that FEMA task the Corps with activation of its ACI Debris Management Contract for management of the debris disposal operations. The Corps in turn tasked P&J with the management of the Forensic Recovery Operation at the Staten Island Landfill.

Management of the operation involved the coordination of 16 government agencies and 4 subcontractors. When P&J took over the operation the landfill was processing about 1,750 tons of debris per day. At the peak, P&J had increased that number almost 10 times to over 17,000 tons per day.

Project Highlights

tons of debris processed per day at peak


people put through Site-Specific Indoctrination


tons of debris processed overall


discrete pieces of evidence found


body parts recovered


victims positively identified


man-hours with only 1 very minor lost-time accident

P&J was also tasked with the creation, implementation, and management of a Site-Specific Health and Safety Plan for the operation and to onboard personnel with Site-Specific Indoctrination. Over the course of this intensive 321-day project over 1.7M man-hours had been worked and there was only one very minor lost-time accident. 
At the close of the project, the landfill had received and processed over 1,462,000 tons of debris, over 55,000 discrete pieces of evidence had been found, 4,257 body parts had been recovered, and 209 victims had been positively identified. In addition to awards from the NYPD and FBI, P&J earned an Outstanding Performance Evaluation from the Corps and was named National Civil Works Contractor of the Year.


National Civil Works Contractor of the Year

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