Landfill Still Burns Near Radioactive Waste
ST. LOUIS (CN) - A landfill that has emitted noxious odors from an underground fire has agreed to additional safety measures to try to keep the fire from spreading to a neighboring landfill that contains radioactive waste.
Republic Services, which owns the Bridgeton Landfill in suburban St. Louis, reached the agreement with Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster on Thursday. The improved measures include:
Monthly comprehensive carbon monoxide testing in the neck area separating the north and south quarries;
Carbon monoxide testing in the north quarry every 60 days, decreasing to 30-day intervals if any temperature readings exceed 145 degrees Fahrenheit;
Carbon monoxide testing in the south quarry every 60 days.
Under a previous agreement, Republic was providing this data every 60 days.
The new agreement also implements a new odor control plan, which includes:
New technology to detect and log odor nuisance events;
A vapor recovery system to capture odors during the transfer of leachate to trucks used for offsite disposal. Eventually leachate will be directly piped offsite for disposal.
Closure and removal of tanks formerly used to treat leachate at the site;
A backup flare system to burn off odorous gases onsite, with a supplemental natural gas supply installed within 3 weeks of the order to reduce flare downtime;
Republic will investigate and implement additional odor-neutralizing measures;
Republic must increase the frequency of landfill gas collection and testing for hazardous substances;
Republic will reimburse the state of Missouri for excess state costs up to $1.49 million associated with monitoring and oversight at the landfill.
The agreement comes after elevated levels of benzene were detected along the landfill's perimeter this month. Neighboring residents voiced concerns about the underground fire reaching the neighboring West Lake landfill, which contain radioactive material.
"Protection of public health and the safety of the community remain our highest priorities as we move ahead to control the fire and the odor," Koster said in a statement. "Our goal is to ensure that Republic keeps the fire from reaching the West Lake Landfill as we move forward on a final determination on penalties against Republic."
Neighbors reached a $6.8 million settlement in a class action against the landfill in April. The neighbors claimed they suffered losses in property value to the noxious odors emitted from the landfill. On June 13, the deadline to opt in to the settlement was extended to July 18.