SEA ISLE CITY — To cap its old landfill, the city is studying whether it can use dredge spoils to turn the former garbage heap into a park.

But first, pending soil samples will determine whether the spoils are free of contaminants and have the right consistency, said Matthew Dalon, an engineer with Ocean and Coastal Consultants.

The city's consultants updated City Council on Tuesday night of the proposal to seal the north-end landfill near 5th Street and Landis Avenue using spoils from a nearby disposal site.

The city partnered with the state Department of Transportation to evaluate if dredge materials from a nearby disposal site could seal the landfill for good.

The landfill has been out of use for nearly 30 years.

The city has eyed the isolated site that borders Strathmere as a site for a passive park, or potentially for wind turbines.

From the road, the landfill is noticeable only as a vast vegetation-covered stretch with no homes or structures on it.

The proposed plan to cap the landfill involves using spoils from nearby Site 90, an area where sandy material dredged from waterways and channels has been stored for decades.

Dalon said the state has looked for places to store spoils, and clearing more space at the 12-acre Site 90 is beneficial. That distinction helped the city get state funding to study the proposal.

Beside soil samples, analysis is also required for wildlife concerns that exist there, Dalon said. The area was noted as a nesting site for threatened black-crowned night herons in a 2008 report by Amy S. Greene Environmental Consultants Inc.

The engineering, permitting design and planning of the project would cost about $433,000, with the city paying 60 percent. Capping the landfill would likely cost the millions, city officials and consultants have said. City officials have said they hoped to find state funding if the proposal is feasible.

If the plan gets state environmental approval, it could pump at least 55,000 cubic yards onto the landfill, raising it at least two feet, Dalon said.

Several years ago, the bayside landfill raised environmental concerns when erosion exposed decades-old chairs, tire rims and bottles to the waters of Ludlam Bay.

Old landfills like Sea Isle City's are fairly common, said Douglas Gaffney, regional director for Ocean and Coastal Consultants. There were about 20 public and private ones in Cape May County, he said.

Contact Brian Ianieri:

609-463-6713