Ground Zero remains recovery, Cleanup, Crime scene,
Fire in the "piles," Molten metal, Steel recycling issues,
Fresh Kills recovery operations,
Glowing aluminum, Aerial imaging, Utilities outage maps

Main 9/11 links page

See also 9/11 Forensics and Victim Identification and Ground Zero Worker Health & Environmental Issues

"American Ground: Unbuilding the World Trade Center" by William Langewiesche
Factual corrections to "American Ground" published by members of the WTC Living History Project
"Nine Months at Ground Zero: The Story of the Brotherhood of Workers Who Took on a Job Like No Other"
"Report From Ground Zero" by Dennis Smith

Photos & Video
Good photos WTC debris removal
Good Cleanup photos
Liberty Street: Encounters at Ground Zero by Peter Josyph
PBS America Rebuilds: Video Stories
PBS America Rebuilds: engineer Rich Garlock
Film Review: Peter Josyph's "Liberty Street: Alive at Ground Zero" (Free NYT Jan. 12, 2006)

Websites & Articles

"September" - Esquire Magazine article on WTC aftermath & cleanup

New York Times Graphic: Basement levels damage

Video: Ground Zero Underworld: Rescue & Recovery

The Excavation: Planning, Precision and Pain ($ NYT Sept. 27, 2001)

U.S. Army Corps Emergency Response To Sept. 11 Terrorist Attacks on World Trade Center

Debris Mountain Starts to Shrink (Engineering News-Record Oct 1, 2001):"'We were digging through debris we thought might be from near the tower's bottom that was in fact from near the top,'' Mr. Marchetto said. ''Unfortunately, the corridors and stairwells we were looking for are far down in the pile and there is so much that must be removed before we could get there. Nothing is where you think it is; everything is shifted, moved, bent, compressed.''

Slowed by Site's Fragility, the Heavy Lifting Has Only Begun ($ NYT Oct 13, 2001): "Already, working around the clock, 1,300 construction workers and other personnel -- including 160 firefighters and 90 police officers -- have removed an extraordinary volume of debris: 290,000 tons of the estimated 1.2 million at the site. ...Work crews from Bovis Lend Lease, a contractor excavating a sector that includes the south tower, recently went looking for part of a lower floor, said Peter Marchetto, a Bovis executive. Burrowing in at the spot suggested by the Fire Department, they found, instead, ''signs for the 86th floor,'' Mr. Marchetto said."

Architecture Week: Early Days in the Disaster (November, 2001)

Ground Zero Cleanup To Remain A City Job: New York Post - December 8, 2001
Mayor Giuliani is heeding the advice of federal experts not to replace city workers overseeing the World Trade Center cleanup and will not be hiring the Bechtel construction company for the job.

At the Pit, a Night Shift to Numb the Body and Soul ($ NYT Charlie LeDuff, Dec. 10, 2001)
There is no extra money for working the night shift, though there are extra and psychological challenges. There are the strained marriages, the spotty eyes from the floodlights, the cold and the wind. At night, the tourists don't line up to take your picture or slap your back. The movie stars rarely visit. At night, it is all about the work, work that the men and women at ground zero consider an honor to do.

THE TOWERS; Toppling of 'Shroud' Stirs Emotions (Last standing piece of north tower. $ NYT Dec. 16, 2001)

At Ground Zero, New Manager, New Machines, New Focus (Bovis taking over supervision. ($ NYT Jan 3, 2002):
"The Fire Department is also adjusting its operations at the site. Some underground smoldering continues at isolated spots, particularly below where the north tower once stood, but almost all the fires are now extinguished and active firefighting has all but come to a halt."

Cleanup's Pace Outstrips Plans For Attack Site ($ NYT Jan 7, 2002)
In the Pit, Dark Relics and Last Obstacles ($ NYT Jan 13, 2002)

Contractors at Ground Zero Denied Insurance for Cleanup ($ NYT Jan 18, 2002)
For four months, contractors have been working without any liability insurance covering injury and property damage claims. Insurance companies have simply declared the risk too high and the project too big. Building contractors will now be turning to Congress to provide them with coverage. They hope to convince Congress to indemnify the city and the contractors for any lawsuits stemming from the cleanup. Workers for the contractors are covered by workers' compensation and health insurance.

Ground Zero Cleanup Defies How Jobs Are Usually Done ($ NYT Jan 20, 2002)
The cleanup job at Ground Zero is unprecedented in the history of the city - not only in its size and scope, but also in the speed and efficiency with which it is taking place. While initial estimates for time and cost hovered around $1 billion to $2.5 billion and a year's worth of work, it now appears that the job will be finished in nine months and cost only $750 million. Why? The primary reasons leading to this "construction miracle" have been oversight to prevent corruption, self-policing and unprecedented flexbility of the unions, and the government's willingness to expedite the cleanup.

Ground Zero Rush Response Followed By Site's Painstaking Cost Recovery Contractors Endure Complex Audits And Long Waits As City Verifies Expenses (9/9/2002)

Barges Near Stuyvesant High School To Stop Transportation of Ground Zero Debris Next Month - (Downtown Express, Apr 25, 2002)
"The operation has been winding down in recent weeks. 'There is one truck every 20 minutes - the sooner it's all over, the better for me. [At its peak], there would be 20 trucks lined up, sometimes 40.'

Ground Zero Cleanup To Cost Less Than Previously Estimated - (New York Daily News) Apr 25, 2002
Cleaning up and rebuilding downtown Manhattan is expected to cost up to $29 billion, $6 billion less than previously estimated, according to a report released yesterday by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. One reason the cost estimate has dropped since fall is that the cleanup of the World Trade Center site has gone more rapidly than expected. The report also said that 50,000 private jobs were lost in the immediate aftermath of Sept. 11, and 20,000 more were lost in early 2002. An additional 100,000 city workers were displaced by the attacks.

"September" - Esquire Magazine article on WTC aftermath & cleanup
Fire Engineering - SEARCH AND RESCUE OPERATIONS (WTC) by John Norman, FDNY

Size of Piles
"I think the greatest tribute paid to these guys is when they were carried from that eight-story pile. We had to bring them down this eighty-foot valley of bent steel and then up another, maybe, four-story mountain. Then we went down again, four stories, then across the wide expanse of West Street, still deep with steel and debris, through the big entrance of the World Financial Center, and then out to Vesey Street to where the temporary morgue is. And through that whole distance, our guys carried the chief and the men of Ladder 5 on Stokes baskets!" (Nine Months at Ground Zero)

Ground Zero Engineers Speak (Architectural Record Feb. '02)
Last Steel Column From the Ground Zero Rubble Is Cut Down ($ NYT May 29, 2002)
Contractors: Thornton Thomasetti & Griffin Demolition
OSHA at WTC: A Dangerous Worksite
Ironworkers Union Homepage
The Vault: Below Ground Zero, Silver and Gold
Historic Treasures lost on 9/11
Corps responds to Pentagon, World Trade Center attacks
Tully Construction at Ground Zero

Demolition of Buildings 4 & 5
Additionally Tully demolished both buildings left standing along Church Street World Trade Center 4 and World Trade Center 5. To do this Tully had to build bridging platforms to span across the elevated sidewalk above the shopping area under buildings 4 and 5. This had to be done all around these two buildings to support the cranes necessary to demolish the buildings. The internal structure of the buildings was then pre-cut to allow for breaking points so the structure would crumb as the wrecking ball was dropped on it. The buildings were demolished by the ball and crane method, this was done because of the fear of doing even more damage to the utilities in the area if the building was demolished by selective blasting or the risk of sending people in the building to do it by hand was just to great. This was the first time in over a decade a wrecking ball was used in New York City. The effort by all the contractors on site was monumental but Tully's crews move more material with less equipment and personnel then the other 3 contractors combined.
LiRo at Ground Zero (Excerpt)
"Red Hot Debris. The removal of debris from the collapsed areas requires the safe lifting and maneuvering of very heavy steel beams, often twisted and tangled from the force of the collapse. Some beams pulled from the wreckage are still red hot more than 7 weeks after the attack, and it is suspected that temperatures beneath the debris pile are well in excess of 1,000°F. One group of beams fell end-first, embedding themselves deeply into the subway system below. The removal of these beams – one of which struck an electrical equipment room – is a delicate operation requiring close coordination with New York City Transit . Although the 1/9 station below the Trade Center is heavily damaged, 1,200ft. are intact. LiRo is working with New York City Transit to shore up the station so that there will be no further damage."
Only Us Down Here: Construction Workers at Ground Zero (Audio, 9 mins)
Giant Crane will dig for bodies from north tower (IUOE, Nov. 27, 2001)
Ironworkers' Job of Clearing Ground Zero Is Over, but the Trauma Lingers (NYT Nov. 11, 2002)
Trade Center cleanup a marvel (NYT January 21, 2002)
9/11 Highlights for the Corps of Engineers
Navigating Below Ground: An Interview with Peter Rinaldi
NPR Captured Scenes and Remembered Moments from 'The Pile' (audio & video, uses Realplayer)
NYC Sanitation Dept role in cleanup, description of Fresh Kills, investigations, tracking removed material
More than a thousand personal, government, fire, and police vehicles were utterly destroyed with the collapse of the World Trade Center. Some vehicles remained remarkably intact, while others were not even recognizable as automobiles or trucks. All vehicles were taken to the Fresh Kills facility and inspected.

The New York Police Department, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the Federal Bureau of Investigation had an auto crime headquarters nearby. They recorded Vehicle Identification Numbers for insurance purposes and removed objects that were requested by the owner. The final tally was 1,195 automobiles, 102 pieces of fire apparatus, and 61 police department vehicles. Source

Crime Scene Info
WTC Crime Scene
From Report From Ground Zero. Smith, Dennis. New York: Penguin, 2002
And although this is a fire scene, it is also a crime scene, which means a large unit of crime scene investigators is present, working from a tent at the corner of West St. and Liberty. (p. 194)

NYPD Detective first grade Hal Sherman: "At Ground Zero the CSU is responsible for photographing the site, recovering physical evidence, documenting body parts and any other physical evidence like weapons or a wallet, manning the temporary morgue at the site (as well as the city morgue up on 28th Street), inspecting debris that leaves the site, and inspecting debris as it gets sifted out at Staten Island. ...All evidence is documented– airplane parts were essential to the beginning investigation, but now they look for hair, fibers, glass particles, semen, ballistics. ...We ID every part. Pillars and beams are swiped for hair, tissue and blood, evaporated body evidence. We have two police officers with mortuary degrees, and they are either in the medical examiner's office or the police lab, because you must be a sworn police officer to take evidence.

If you step on a fly ten times there will be nothing left. And here we have no couches, no computers, no chairs, no glass. Any small trace of anything is evidence. Anything to bring closure to the families. Human body part, clothing, jewelry, equipment and tools, anything. If there ever is a trial, we will be prepared. We've been here from day 1, and we'll be there well after the regular police officers go home, when everyone is packed up and gone." (p. 326-327)

There are two dump sites. One is in Fort Hamilton, Brooklyn, and the other is in Great Kills, Staten Island. At each location police Investigations Unit detectives and FBI agents are spotting and sifting through every truckload, searching for the flight recorders of the planes and for any remains of the victims. (p. 201)
"Law enforcement authorities survey the material for evidence. Only then is it released to a scrap processor under an existing long-term contract with the NYC Department of Sanitation to purchase and then recycle scrap metal."Source

Fresh Kills Crime Scene Info
  • The site covered 175 acres. • 24 local, state, and federal agencies participated, with as many as 1,000 workers a day • 17,000 tons of material were processed daily. • 55 FBI Evidence Response Teams worked the site -- over 1,000 agents -- plus FBI medics, safety officers, and other specialists. • New York Evidence Response Team members worked over 8,000 hours at the site, at the morgue, and at Ground Zero. Source
  • There are currently 600 NYPD detectives, 50 FBI personnel...working tirelessly at Fresh Kills landfill. Source
  • Number of U.S. Customs Agency volunteers working search and inspection at Fresh Kills Landfill: at least 193. Source
  • Recovered at Staten Island: 4,257 human remains helped bring closure to hundreds of families; 54,000 personal items and 4,000 photographs, many returned to their owners; 1,358 personal and departmental vehicles; and thousands of tons of steel. [And not a single trace of an explosive device or its effects on steel.] Source (pdf)
  • At the close of the Staten Island Landfill mission: • 1,462,000 tons of debris had been received and processed • 35,000 tons of steel had been removed (165,000 tons were removed directly at Ground Zero) • 806,000 tons of debris had been screened, an average of 75 tons per hour • 14,968 workers had been through the PPE process • 43,600 people (39,795 NYPD, 6,212 non-NYPD) had been through the Site Specific Indoctrination • Over 1.7 million man hours had been worked • Over 55,000 discrete pieces of evidence had been recovered • 4,257 body parts had been recovered • 209 victims had been positively identified. Source (pdf)

Fires in the piles /Molten metal/ Eutectic reaction / Thermite theories
See also
Was molten metal in the basements caused by demolitions materials? (Why were debris piles so hot, so long?) and Steven E. Jones' Thermate claims

With Water and Sweat, Fighting the Most Stubborn Fire – Excerpt:
"As in a stubborn coal mine fire, the combustion taking place deep below the surface is in many places not a fire at all. Instead, oxygen is charring the surfaces of buried fuels in a slow burn more akin to what is seen in the glowing coals of a raked-over campfire. But the scale of the trade center burning is vast, with thousands of plastic computers, acres of flammable carpet, tons of office furniture and steel and reservoirs of hydraulic oil and other fuels piled upon one another.

Steel beams pulled from the debris at times are so hot they are cherry red. Benzene, propylene, styrene and other chemicals generated by the combustion of computers, office products and fuels drift through the air. And at times, plumes of this smoke are still carried across Lower Manhattan, into City Hall, down to Wall Street, and up through TriBeCa, a relentless reminder of that morning on Sept. 11.

"You keep hitting it again and again with water," Mr. Maldonado said, his respirator momentarily pulled from his face, as he stood in the scorched landscape that once was the World Trade Center plaza. "But the fire won't give up. It is just a constant fight."

Excerpt from "The Will Jimeno Story":
"The rescue workers soon started referring to the ruins of the World Trade Center as “the pile.” While it was burning, they also referred to it as “the bitch” as in “the bitch is still burning.” The fires burned for three months after the attacks, and temperatures recorded from planes flying overhead reached as high as 2,000 degrees. Even after the external flames subsided, the bitch was insidious. Hollow “box beams” were used in the construction of the towers because they’re lighter than solid beams. But when these beams lay haphazardly within the pile, they acted like chimneys for the fires burning underneath and created a dangerous deception. Smoke rising in one place could be from a fire 30 to 40 feet away. Unsuspecting rescue workers often started digging right over hot spots, unintentionally giving oxygen to the glowing embers beneath the surface, igniting sudden geysers of flame.

Fleeing from these flare-ups was often as dangerous as facing the fire. The wreckage was very unstable, like a gigantic set of pickup sticks. Disturbing one steel beam or slab of concrete could easily touch off a collapse. For this reason, the rescue teams that searched through the pile worked in pairs. While one team would go down into the caverns under the pile, the other team would stand by up top just in case the first team had to be rescued."

Fires still burning in subterranean levels pose test to rescuers
Bobby Gray: "A 30-foot column carried high above the ground would be cherry red. It wasn't in a molten stage, but it was certainly too hot to put on a truck because the truck beds are all wood. We'd have to leave it on the side to cool. Sometimes the fire trucks would come by and hose them down." (Nine Months at Ground Zero, p. 66)
WTC Debris Piles Composition

Photos of WTC torch-cut steel, comparison to thermite cut

Quotes about fires in piles & molten metal
Aircraft 200-series aluminum melts at lower temperature
Aluminum in fire
Calculations on the Possible Use of Thermite to Melt Sections of the WTC Core Columns by D. P. Grimmer
JREF Arkan on properties of molten aluminum
Hot Iron & Steel Color Chart
Ward Griffin on Fires in Piles
Debunking 911 Myths on Molten Steel
JREF R. Mackey on eutectic steel / thermate

A Metallurgical Examination and Simulation of the Oxidation and Sulfidation of the World Trade Center Structural Steel (WPI Seminar, September, 2003. Presented by Erin Sullivan.)
To simulate the extreme wastage experienced by WTC building 7 structural steel during the fires experienced on September 11, 2001, A36 steel was reacted with powder FeS/FeO/SiO2/C in an open air furnace environment at 900C and 1100C. Initial investigations of the WTC structural steel revealed an apparent liquid "slag" attack and penetration down grain boundaries by liquid iron oxides and sulfides. The current laboratory simulation results show grain boundary penetration by a liquid slag at higher temperatures regardless of powder reactants applied to the steel samples. Eutectic structures within the Fe-S-O and Fe-Si-O systems were observed along with elemental segregation within the near surface microstructure. In all cases, grain boundary penetration appears to be strongly influenced by the addition of alloying elements and contaminants.
Analysis of the Cause of the Severe Erosion Damage Observed in Structural Steel Components from the 9/11 World Trade Center Incident (WPI Seminar, October 9, 2003. Presented by Prof. Ronald Biederman, George F. Fuller Professor of Mechanical Engineering)
Several Steel samples from Buildings 7, 1 and 2 of the World Trade Center were collected during the Federal Emergency Management Agency forensic investigation shortly after the September 11, 2001 incident. Macroscopically the steel samples supplied had severe "erosion" with plate thickness varying from 12.7mm to a total loss of metal in many areas. Also, some localized plastic deformation was observed. A determination of the cause of this unexpected erosion and an estimate of the maximum temperature that this steel likely experienced will be present along with a perspective on the implications that this damage may pose for high rise structural steel buildings.

Thermite sparking when aluminum hits steel

Pete Bakersky, FEMA US & R Coordinator:
“Bakersky says the IST set up a resupply as the teams used the equipment or it became worn out. They went through respirators, acetylene torch cutting tools and bore-hole cameras. “They were burning out cameras pretty quick there for a while,” he says. “When we went into a void, we'd make entry and then you'd have a flash-up or you'd have a high temperature within the pile; you'd burn out the fiber optics.”

Does molten aluminum glow? It sure can.
See here.––And here.––And here.––And here.––And here.––And here.––And here.

On this page, note the difference between the aluminum that's just out of the furnace and the aluminum that's still molten, but cooler.

The site debunking 911 myths has an interesting page about this. Note their observation about the material falling from the south tower: it appears to turn silvery as it cools.

Steel Recycling & Inspection

See also: NIST NCSTAR 1-3: Mechanical and Metallurgical Analysis of Structural Steel

Engineers Seek to Test Steel Before It Is Melted for Reuse ($ NYT Sept 29, 2001)
Astaneh – City was going to rapidly recycle steel – Oct 3, 2001 - Report from ground zero

"Massive Effort Underway to Recycle Trade Center Wreckage" (NYT Oct. 9, 2001). Excerpt:
"When the World Trade Center towers fell, the buildings became a heartbreaking mass grave, and -- at a coldly physical level -- 1.2 million tons of tangled debris. If a plan for removing that debris was going to be devised responsibly, engineers and government officials needed to be much more specific about what materials lay in the wreckage. Leslie E. Robertson Associates, a structural engineering firm involved in building the trade center, developed a more accurate assessment, estimating that each of the twin towers contained 3,881 tons of steel reinforcing in the concrete floor slabs; 47,453 tons of vertical steel columns; 8,462 tons of aluminum and glass; 2,531 tons of ceiling materials; 4,218 tons of flooring; and 31,350 tons of partitions or walls. The total came to about 1,176,000 tons of debris, including about 285,000 tons of steel. A tightly controlled system of transportation, disposal and recycling was developed, with virtually every piece of the trade center now having a prescribed destination. Tracked at checkpoints, the materials are shuttled from cranes to trucks to docks in Manhattan and Brooklyn and from there to investigation sites, landfills and scrapyards. Nearby scrap recyclers have begun cutting, shearing, shredding and shipping the biggest volumes of metals they have ever faced. Recycling the steel and other metals could net a few tens of millions of dollars."

From FEMA Report 403 Appendix D:
As of March 15, 2002, a total of 131 engineer visits had been made to these yards on 57 separate days. An engineer visit typically ranged from a few hours to an entire day at a salvage yard. The duration of the visits, number of visits per yard,
and the dates the yards were visited varied, depending on the volume of steel being processed, the potential significance of the steel pieces being found, salvage yard activities, weather, and other factors. Sixty-two engineer trips were made to Jersey City, 38 to Keasbey, 15 to Fresh Kills, and 16 to Newark.

Three trips made in October included several ASCE engineers. Eleven engineer trips were made in November, 41 in December, 43 in January, 28 in February, and 5 through March 15, 2002.

D.3.1 Identifying and Saving Pieces
As shown in Figure D-4, the engineers searched through unsorted piles of steel for pieces from WTC 1
and WTC 2 impact areas and from WTC 5 and WTC 7. They also checked for pieces of steel exposed to fire.
Specifically, the engineers looked for the following types of steel members:
• Exterior column trees and interior core columns from WTC 1 and WTC 2 that were exposed to fire
and/or impacted by the aircraft.
• Exterior column trees and interior core columns from WTC 1 and WTC 2 that were above the impact
• Badly burnt pieces from WTC 7.
• Connections from WTC 1, 2, and 7, such as seat connections, single shear plates, and column splices.
• Bolts from WTC 1, 2, and 7 that were exposed to fire, fractured, and/or that appeared undamaged.
• Floor trusses, including stiffeners, seats, and other components.
• Any piece that, in the engineer’s professional opinion, might be useful for evaluation. When there was any doubt about a particular piece, the piece was kept while more information was gathered. A conservative approach was taken to avoid having important pieces processed in salvage yard operations.
WTC 1&2 Core column recovery and identificaton
Index of steel saved for analysis is at NCSTAR 1-A, Appendix E. Index is on page 275. (page 61 of the PDF) FEMA Steel collected spreadsheet (PDF)
  • Most of the core columns recovered were significantly deformed, which made it difficult to select undeformed regions to harvest test specimens from. Even the relatively straight sections were often slightly bent. NIST NCSTAR 1-3D "Mechanical properties of structural steel," page 48 (82 in the PDF).
  • Out of the 55 wide flange sections and built-up box sections recovered, 12 core columns were positively identified from WTC 1 and 2, including:
– Two columns from the fire floors of WTC 1,
– Two columns from the impact zone of WTC 2. NIST NCSTAR 1-3B Steel inventory and ID, page xxv (page 27 in the PDF).
  • 12 columns were unambiguously identified as core columns with their as-build locations known, 12 wide flange sections were found to have markings that were not interpretable, and 31 columns were without any markings at all. Due to the ambiguous nature of the last two groups, only the first group of samples were analyzed. NCSTAR 1-3C Damage and Failure modes of structural steel components, page 197 (247 of PDF)
  • In the two buildings, there were 329 core columns (each three stories tall) traversing floors involved in fires. NIST has portions of four of these columns, and on average about half of each column was recovered. While these pieces allow some comparison of metal and paint condition with the predications of the fire model, the recovered steel represents less than one percent of all the core columns intersecting floors with fire. Thus, the forensic analysis indicating moderate temperature excursions in the recovered core columns does not, and cannot, give a picture of temperatures seen by the vast majority of the core columns. NCSTAR 1-3C, page xivi (PDF page 48)
  • Core columns C-88a and C-88b, from WTC 2, were unique among the recovered core elements in that the columns were still connected at the welded column splice, Fig. 4-2. Both columns were 42 ksi built-up box columns with their shared splice in the 80th floor level. NCSTAR 1-3C, page 198 (page 248 of PDF).

City Clamping Down on Ground Zero Steel Sales - (New York Daily News, Feb 5, 2002)
The city is telling scrap yards not to sell steel from the World Trade Center to companies that want to exploit the tragedy by turning the wreckage into things like souvenirs, says the Daily News. A Georgia company, International Agile Manufacturing, has been melting tons of the steel into commemorative medallions and selling the souvenirs for $29.95 each.

Girder From World Trade Center Will Help Provide Insight Into Collapse - (NY Daily News, Apr 16, 2002)
Recovery workers this week found a mauled, 4-ton column of steel that stretched from the 100th to 103rd floors of the north tower of the World Trade Center. Thick bolts fastened to the column more than 30 years ago -- securing it to a much thinner structural plate -- were still in place. But the plate ripped apart. The National Institute of Standards and Technology, which investigates building collapses after disasters, will get the column -- along with about 60 other steel beams from important areas in the towers.

American Recycler: WTC steel recycling Excerpt: "Law enforcement authorities survey the material for evidence. Only then is it released to a scrap processor under an existing long-term contract with the NYC Department of Sanitation to purchase and then recycle scrap metal."

September 11 steel recycled (Punjab recycling plants)
NIST gallery of recovered steel
Criminal scrap metal scheme busted / GPS on the job in massive WTC clean-up
Army Corps of Engineers Technical Bulletin: Market Valuation of Demolition Salvage Materials (PDF)
Material Recovery Report by Professor Abolhassan Astaneh-Asl (pdf, via nistreview FOIA request)
Report of World Trade Center Inventory At JFK Airport (pdf, via FOIA request)

NIST: Metallurgy of World Trade Center Steel
NIST: Microanalysis of Recovered World Trade Center Steel

Fresh Kills Recovery Operations
1. Debris is loaded onto trucks at Ground Zero and transported to Pier 25 on West Side. It is then loaded onto barges that hold 650 tons each; there are up to 12 barges a day.
2. The barges travel down the Hudson, into the bay and on to Fresh Kills in Staten Island. At Fresh Kills, debris is moved by heavy machinery from the barges into dock holding area.
3. Trucks take material from the holding area to one of the spreading fields.
4. Grappling cranes break up the material and spread it out.
5. Debris is loaded into sifting operation, where - depending on size - the material makes its way onto one of three conveyor belts. The belts carry pieces by size - very fine, small and relatively large.
From another source (pdf):

NYSDEC Debris Management Issues (PDF)

NYC Dept. of Sanitation role at fresh kills

Good overview of Fresh Kills operations by Phillips & Jordan
FBI at Fresh Kills: Stats

FBI evidence collection summary (OIG report on 9/11 detainees)
600 NYPD detectives at Fresh Kills
U.S. Customs Today: Fresh Kills - March 2002
US Army Corps of Engineers Fresh Kills Recovery
Fresh Kills Recovery Operations (NYS Museum)
Large aerial photos of Fresh Kills sorting operations
Sorting Debris: three sizes sample
Fresh Kills Journal; mountains of twisted steel ($ NYT)
Taylor Recycling designs Fresh Kills sorting system
NPR audio: Sorting WTC Debris at Fresh Kills Landfill
Anguished Search for Traces of the Missing (New York Daily News - January 6, 2002) 1200 wrecked and burnt-out vehicles have been found at the site, as well as 2900 human body parts. The effort includes hundreds of New York police detectives and federal agents working from 5 A.M to midnight every day.

Sifting the Last Tons of Sept. 11 Debris ($ NYT May 14, 2002)
Work by investigators at The Hill, makeshift village at Fresh Kills Landfill on Staten Island created out of necessity after September 11 terrorist attacks to sift debris from collapsed World Trade Center, is ending with only 25,000 tons of material left to be carted from Lower Manhattan; investigators, mostly New York City police officers, have sorted through 1.6 million tons of material; have uncovered more than 4,100 body parts and helped identify more than 150 victims.

Mapping Ground Zero Destruction & "Hot spots"
GIS Mapping Ground Zero
Using Remote Sensing to Support the Response and Recovery Operations at the World Trade Center
LIDAR topographical imaging
USGS Spectroscopy Lab: WTC Thermal Hot spots
USGS Sample collection to correspond to thermal measurements Sept 17 & 18

Utilities outages & street closures
Map: September 26, 2001 lower Manhattan vehicle & pedestrian restrictions
Map: October 20, 2001 lower Manhattan vehicle & pedestrian restrictions
Map: May, 2002 lower Manhattan vehicle & pedestrian restrictions
Map: Subway closures Sept. 26, 2001
Map: Water outages Sept. 27, 2001
Map: Gas, steam, electric outages Sept. 30, 2001
Map: Telephone outages Oct. 4, 2001
Map: Lower Manhattan the day after (Washington Post)