The construction of a trench designed to keep the slow smoldering fire at the Bridgeton Landfill away from radioactive soil buried at the West Lake Landfill may have hit a snag. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that EPA testing has revealed more radioactive material at West Lake.
The paper reports that Florissant City Engineer Tim Barrett wrote about the newly discovered materials in a letter to Mayor Thomas Schneider. Barrett wrote that the EPA is expected to release a report on the new findings later this week.
Barrett also wrote that the location of the radioactive materials and the results of additional testing will determine how and where the trench will be built.
ST. LOUIS (AP) - Initial testing work is about to start on a trench to help keep an underground fire at a suburban St. Louis landfill from reaching World War II-era nuclear waste buried 1,200 feet away.
Environmental Protection Agency Region 7 Administrator Karl Brooks told The Associated Press Tuesday that initial survey work for the fire break at the Bridgeton Landfill will begin next week. Actual construction of the trench will start early next year and take several months.
The testing work was delayed more than two weeks by the federal government shutdown.
Bridgeton Landfill owner Republic Services Inc. is paying to build the dirt-filled trench aimed at keeping the smoldering away from the adjacent West Lake Landfill. EPA is supervising the work - West Lake was designated a Superfund site in 1990.
A group of north county residents want their neighbors near the West Lake Landfill to put more pressure on elected leaders to clean up the site. About 100 people attended a public meeting Thursday night hosted by the West Lake Landfill Community Group and Missouri Coalition for the Environment.
MCE's Ed Smith told the group that the current fire smoldering at the Bridgeton Landfill isn't the first to threaten the radioactive site. "There was a landfill fire in the early 90s closer to the radioactive wastes than the current landfill fire," he said.
That's why the groups say plans to build a barrier between the smoldering Bridgeton Landfill and West Lake isn't enough. They want local leaders to put pressure on the Army Corps of Engineers to remove the soil, as they're doing at other radioactive waste sites.
Missouri State Representative Bill Otto was among the political leaders who attended last night's meeting. He told Fox 2 News that EPA work on the barrier project that had stopped because of the government shutdown is back on track. "They're getting back in the office," he said. "And getting ready to resume the work that they had started or were tasked to do with the landfill."
Bridgeton Landfill LLC released the following statement: "We're eager to resume work with the EPA in conjunction with state agencies to begin the next stage of the construction."
Pattonville Fire officials along with St. Louis County Councilman Steve Stenger and representatives from County Executive Charlie Dooley's office also attended the meeting.
Organizers are calling on residents to note odor issues and contact their local politicians to make a change.
The consequences of the federal government shutdown could ultimately have an effect on the health and safety of St. Louisans.
Missouri's attorney general Chris Koster has joined the call for federal regulators to proceed with required testing of a St. Louis County landfill that's been halted by the budget and debt ceiling stalemate.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency decided to delay testing at the Bridgeton Landfill until federal funding for the work is enacted. There has been an underground fire burning at the landfill which is adjacent to the West Lake Landfill where radioactive waste is buried.
Chris Koster's office released a letter yesterday asking the EPA to reconsider its decision to delay testing.
Additional steps are being undertaken to reduce the strong odors emanating from the Bridgeton Landfill. Owners of the landfill, Republic Services, say they are adding 7 acres of tarp to control the smell which has been so bad that Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster has filed suit on behalf of residents. Gas extraction pumps have also been installed to reduce the odor. Despite some improvement, there are still days when the smell is overwhelming. The Missouri Department of Natural Resources says more short-term odors may be generated as gas extraction wells are prepared for the installation of the liner.
The company that owns the smoldering Bridgeton Landfill has 20 days to submit a new plan to stop the fire's spread toward radioactive waste buried at the adjacent West Lake Landfill.
The Missouri Department of Natural Resources yesterday found "significant deficiencies" in Republic Service's contingency plan.
Residents living near the two landfills have expressed serious concerns about the underground fire that continues to creep closer to the radioactive waste site.
Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster sued Republic in March because the continuous burning violates state environmental laws. Koster says he will take them back to court if necessary to force the company to comply with the DNR's request for a new plan.
ST. LOUIS (AP) - A long smoldering St. Louis County landfill has a history of methane violations.
State and county inspection reports and other public documents from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources show the landfill has been out of compliance with state regulations since the late 1990s. The issue was that the landfill was allowing excess levels of methane, a potentially dangerous gas, to seep off-site.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the methane problems also raise questions about a possible connection to the mass of overheated waste that continues to smolder deep below the surface of the landfill.
The company says it isn't yet ruling anything out and is working with the DNR to determine the origin of what has been called a "smoldering event."
New air and water tests showed no health risk from the West Lake Landfill in Bridgeton. That was the message from the EPA to the big – and sometimes rowdy – crowd Tuesday night at Pattonville High School.
Residents say they are concerned that the underground fire burning at the nearby Bridgeton Landfill could spread to radioactive waste buried in the 1970s at the West Lake facility. About 650 came to Tuesday night's meeting, many demanding immediate action.
But EPA Region 7 Administrator Karl Brooks says preliminary studies show there is time to study the situation before making a decision. "That event over there on the Bridgeton side does not threaten the West Lake Landfill," Brooks said. "It gives us time to assess the science, take a look at the engineering and make good choices about it."
Some residents want the radioactive materials removed. Others favor a buyout.
Brooks says all options are on the table, but nothing will happen right away.
The first of two meetings to is set for tomorrow for North St. Louis County residents who want answers to questions about the putrid odor from smoldering garbage at the Bridgeton Landfill.
They've also worried about the proximity of the underground fire to radioactive waste at the adjacent West Lake Landfill.
The Missouri Coalition for the Environment tells KTRS news now those concerns have drawn the attention of Erin Brockovich and her legal team. The environmental activist was portrayed by Julia Roberts in the 2000 film about her battle against a utility accused of polluting a small California town's water supply.
A Los Angeles attorney and an environmental investigator who work with Brockovich will meet with residents and answer their questions tomorrow morning at eleven at the Operating Engineers Union Hall off Hollenburg Drive.
Brockovich, who was initially supposed to attend the meeting, will NOT be there. It’s unclear if her absence is related to her arrest in Nevada last week for boating while intoxicated.
Local environmental groups have pushed for years to have the Army Corps of Engineers take control of the cleanup and excavate tons of Cold War-era nuclear weapons waste that was deposited illegally in the early 1970s.
A second meeting is set Monday night with State Rep. Bill Otto, of St. Charles at Pattonville High School. Otto said the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, Department of Health and Human Services and technical experts hired by the DNR to assess the landfill fire will be available via webcast to present information and answer questions.
The team of an environmentalist made famous by Julia Roberts is coming to St. Louis.
A spokesman for the Missouri Coalition for the Environment told KTRS News that a team representing Erin Brockovich will be in north county to address concerns surrounding the Bridgeton Landfill.
The smoldering event underneath the landfill has residents worried it could threaten nuclear waste buried next door at the West Lake Landfill. Residents and environmentalists hope the Brockovich name will draw attention to the issue. Recent tests done by the EPA suggest the underground fire would take 10 years to reach the nuclear waste.
Missouri health officials and the state's Department of Natural Resources are monitoring the smoldering closely.