Bridgeton landfill

(Sarah Skiold-Hanlin, St. Louis Public Radio)

A new analysis by scientists at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency suggests there could be risks to area residents if an underground fire were to reach radioactive waste at the West Lake Landfill.

An underground fire has been smoldering at the adjacent Bridgeton Landfill for more than three years and is now about 900 to 1,000 feet from the radioactive material.

MDNR

There is increasing concern about the status of two landfills in Bridgeton as a slow-moving underground fire in the Bridgeton Landfill edges towards the adjacent West Lake Landfill. Radioactive waste left over from World War II was illegally dumped at West Lake in the 1970s.

Sarah Skiold-Hanlin, St. Louis Public Radio

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says it is contracting with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to build a fire break to keep an underground fire from reaching radioactive waste at the landfill complex in Bridgeton.

Sarah Skiold-Hanlin, St. Louis Public Radio

Updated on 3/20/14 to add a statement from landfill owner Bridgeton Landfill, LLC, a subsidiary of Republic Services.

Preliminary tests by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have found radioactive waste closer to the underground fire at the Bridgeton Landfill than previously thought.

Environmental Protection Agency report p.8

Members of Missouri's congressional delegation have issued a letter strongly urging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to turn over responsibility for the clean-up of radioactive material at the West Lake Landfill to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Senators Roy Blunt and Claire McCaskill as well as Representatives William Lacy Clay and Ann Wagner signed the Feb. 28 letter addressed to EPA Regional Administrator Karl Brooks.

This radiation warning sign is one of many posted on the chain link fence surrounding part of the West Lake Landfill in Bridgeton, Mo.
Sarah Skiold-Hanlin | St. Louis Public Radio

On Friday morning, NPR reported that 13 employees at the only dedicated nuclear waste dump in the U.S. had inhaled radioactive material after a major accident earlier this month.

Republic Services

Updated on 2/23/14 to correct the date of the 2013 CO measurements, and on 2/21/14 to add a data table from MDNR and more characterization of the recent CO measurements.

New monitoring data from the Bridgeton Landfill suggest that an underground fire has not spread toward radioactive waste to the north.

Missouri Attorney General's Office

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster said Monday that this weekend’s surface fire at the Bridgeton Landfill will play a role in the state’s ongoing lawsuit against its owner, Republic Services.

The fire “informs the court case,’’ Koster said. “The fact that a fire did flare up gives credence to the overall concerns that residents have had for some time.”

Véronique LaCapra, St. Louis Public Radio

A study conducted for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has concluded that the underground fire plaguing part of the Bridgeton Landfill site isn’t a hazardous threat, even if it reaches radioactive material stored at a neighboring landfill.

Bridgeton Landfill
Véronique LaCapra, St. Louis Public Radio

The company that owns a smoldering landfill in Bridgeton has agreed to perform additional testing for carbon monoxide at the site.

Véronique LaCapra, St. Louis Public Radio & The Beacon

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster wants more air monitoring at the Bridgeton Landfill, where an underground fire has been smoldering for more than three years.

Attorney General Koster asked the St. Louis County Circuit Court on Thursday to order the landfill's owner to collect more data on carbon monoxide emissions.

Sarah Skiold-Hanlin, St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 1:25 p.m. to add statement from Republic Services, and at 6:00 p.m. to add comments from EPA.

More radioactive material has been found at the West Lake Landfill in Bridgeton.

The material was detected during radioactivity testing in preparation for the construction of a trench. That trench will separate radioactive waste at the West Lake Landfill from an underground fire smoldering at the adjacent Bridgeton Landfill.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is overseeing the construction of the firebreak trench.

(Sarah Skiold-Hanlin, St. Louis Public Radio)

A nuclear policy analyst is adding his voice to those of area residents, environmental advocates and local government officials who want radioactive wastes out of the West Lake Landfill in Bridgeton.

Robert Alvarez served as a senior policy advisor in the Department of Energy under the Clinton administration and is currently a senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies.

(Véronique LaCapra/St. Louis Public Radio)

Updated 4:07 p.m.

Preliminary work to build a firebreak at the Bridgeton Landfill will begin next week. But a local environmental group is worried about what it could stir up.

To figure out where they can safely dig the trench that will separate the underground fire from the radioactive waste, contractors will test the soil for radioactivity. That involves clearing trees and shrubs away from where the firebreak will be built.

Missouri Department of Natural Resources

This isn't the first time a fire has smoldered underground at the landfill in Bridgeton.

The Missouri Coalition for the Environment says another subsurface fire burned there in 1993.

They found a reference to that fire in an old report related to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's management of radioactive waste at the landfill.

(Véronique LaCapra/St. Louis Public Radio)

Attorney General Chris Koster has asked the federal Environmental Protection Agency to conduct radioactivity tests at the West Lake landfill in Bridgeton that were delayed because of the government shutdown.

Véronique LaCapra, St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 5:40 p.m. to add Missouri Coalition for the Environment letter and comment from Republic Services.

The fire within the Bridgeton Landfill is still smoldering and now the Missouri Department of Natural Resources is ordering the company which operates the landfill to install additional temperature monitors to track the fire.

Chris McDaniel, St. Louis Public Radio.

A suburban St. Louis lawmaker is calling for the removal of nuclear waste from a landfill near Lambert Airport.

Underground smoldering at the Bridgeton Landfill has created a foul odor so strong that Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster sued the landfill owner, Republic Services.

Bridgeton Landfill is part of the larger West Lake Landfill. Another area of West Lake contains nuclear waste from the Cold War era.

Environmental Protection Agency report p. 15

The Environmental Protection Agency says radioactive wastes at the West Lake Landfill in Bridgeton are "contained" and "do not pose public health risks."

Véronique LaCapra, St. Louis Public Radio

Updated Wednesday, May 22, 5:30 p.m.: The Department of Health & Senior Services is also posting its evaluations of the air monitoring data here. The regulatory standards that DHSS is using to estimate the health risks from landfill fumes are here.

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