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Health, Science, Environment

Bridgeton Landfill faces fines for not measuring emissions

Flares at the Bridgeton Landfill are used to burn off smelly underground gases.
Véronique LaCapra | St. Louis Public Radio
Flares at the Bridgeton Landfill are used to burn off smelly underground gases.

The owners of the Bridgeton Landfill are facing fines from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources over noncompliance with emissions monitoring requirements.

According to a letter from Leanne Mosby, the DNR’s division director, Bridgeton Landfill LLC will be penalized up to $10,000 per violation, per day until the company resolves the issues. According to the letter the company:

  • Must continue analytical testing and flow rate measurements until approved by the DNR.
  • Must continue evaluating sulfur compound concentrations in the air.
  • Has not submitted some emissions data calculations. The DNR and local branch of the Environmental Protection Agency will step in and conduct their analysis until Bridgeton comes into compliance.

The Attorney General's office has yet to calculate the total amount of fines due, as part of an ongoing lawsuit.
Bridgeton Landfill LLC is a subsidiary of Republic Services, a waste management company that contracts trash hauling services to many homes in the St. Louis region. The company has been tasked with controlling an underground fire that has been smoldering in the landfill since at least 2010.

In an email sent to St. Louis Public Radio, Republic Services said the company already has an agreement with the Department of Natural Resources to conduct a pilot study starting in June. The goal of the study is to make sure there is enough data for regulators about sulfur compound emissions.

"We have already begun a modeling study to assess the concentration of sulfur compounds in the air beyond the property line, which we expect to complete and submit to the State by June 1," the statement said. "We believe this model will reveal that sulfur compounds are below the EPA’s minimum threshold."

Residents near the landfill have complained about the fumes for years, which are said to cause headaches and nausea. Others worry that the smoldering appears to be getting closer to the adjacent West Lake Landfill, which is known to hold radioactive waste.

“Republic Services is continuing to be confrontational with the state of Missouri about the landfill. In this case, they’re denying to provide information that could be valuable for protecting public health,” said Ed Smith of the Missouri Coalition for the Environment.

The Department of Natural Resources did not return requests for further information.

Read the full letter below. Additional correspondence between the DNR and Republic Services can be found here:

For more health and science news, follow Durrie and Veronique on Twitter: @durrieB and @KWMUScience

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