Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich says his office will audit the state agency assigned to protect the environment and public health from hazardous waste.
The announcement follows reports of problems with oversight at the cleanup of the former Carondelet Coke site in St. Louis. A St. Louis Post-Dispatch report says that clean up cost taxpayers more than $12 million. while former owners Laclede Gas and SGL Group were paying less than a million dollars combined and Carondelet Coke owner J. Donald Crane was getting off the hook entirely. The 42 acre site had been considered one of the most contaminated in the state.
Schweich announced the audit of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Hazardous Waste Program Friday morning. State law gives the auditor the authority to audit state agencies and programs.
Anyone who would like to provide information during the audit process is encouraged to contact the State Auditor's office at 800-347-8597 or by email at email@example.com.
The action follows testing by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources that showed elevated levels of hydrogen sulfide in the air. The noxious compound can cause headaches, eye, nose and throat irritation, and even breathing trouble.
But a representative for the company that owns the landfill, Republic Services, denies any danger. Republic officials say EPA and DNR testing show the odor presents no risk to the public.
A report on the DNR website says the levels of hydrogen sulfide are high enough to warrant monitoring and would pose a health risk if they intensify further.
The Department of Natural Resources on Friday released a summary of recent air sampling results from the landfill. The samples showed "concentrations did not exceed a level of concern for public health." One sample collected near the landfill boundary, however, had a benzene concentration above the level considered safe.
An area deep within the inactive landfill has been smoldering for more than two years, emitting a foul odor that has generated several complaints.
Landfill operator, Phoenix-based Republic Services Inc., says it's spending millions of dollars to address the problem.
An environmental group says more testing is needed.