Bridgeton Landfill
4:03 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

Bridgeton Landfill Owner To Pay Almost $7 Million To Neighboring Homeowners

The owner of the Bridgeton Landfill has agreed to pay almost $6.9 million to about 400 nearby homeowners who had joined a suit contending that the landfill’s odors had damaged their property values.

A federal judge in St. Louis County gave initial approval Thursday to the settlement, which could be divided up among the homeowners as soon as this fall, their lawyers said.

The individual payments will vary, the lawyers said, depending on how close each of the 400 homes is to the landfill and how long the homeowners had resided there. Those eligible for settlement money must have been living in their homes between November 2010 and December 2013.

Republic Services, the owner of the Bridgeton landfill, has agreed to pay almost $6.9 million to about 400 homeowners who had said that the landfill’s odors had damaged their property values.
Credit Véronique LaCapra, St. Louis Public Radio

The lawsuit was filed just over a year ago, during the ongoing controversies surrounding the landfill and neighboring West Lake Landfill. Both are owned by subsidiaries of Republic Services Inc.

“Republic Services put these families in a terrible situation,’’ said lawyer Ted Gianaris in a statement. “By uniting together through a class action lawsuit, we were able to quickly reach a resolution that will give residents some resources to decide how to move forward.”

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster has been heavily involved, largely in response to complaints from neighboring homeowners, and is overseeing a separate lawsuit filed by the state. (Gianaris' law firm, Simmons Browder Gianaris Angelides & Barnerd LLC, is a major donor to Koster's campaign for governor, donating $100,000 since last summer. The firm is a generous donor to other Missouri Democrats as well.)

Republic has been overseeing various efforts to address the odor problem, including the installation of a cover over the landfill and a "flare system'' aimed at eliminating the odorous gas.  The subsidiary said in a statement that it "has invested more than $100 million in site improvements to date," and noted that Missouri Department of Natural Resources has documented a reduction in the odor problem.

The Bridgeton Landfill’s owners also are grappling with an underground fire, which some residents and critics fear could spread to neighboring West Lake, which has radioactive waste generated by weapon research during World War II.

The Environmental Protection Agency has contracted with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to build a firewall to block spread of the fire to the radioactive material.