May 14, 2013
St. Louis, Mo. – On Tuesday May 14 Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster outlined the terms of a first agreed order reached with the Bridgeton Landfill. Under the agreement landfill operators will provide temporary accommodations for residents most affected by the odor, and reimburse state agencies for continuous monitoring and sampling of the air and ground at the site.
Additionally this order compels Republic to complete remedial work on an established schedule. This includes removal of the top sections of the reinforced concrete pipes that have been identified as contributing to the odor and subsurface smoldering event. Removing the top sections of these pipes will facilitate the placement of a new landfill cap that captures and destroys odorous gasses and starves the subsurface of oxygen.
"Through this legally binding agreement Republic has committed to immediate corrective action at the Bridgeton Landfill. This includes controlling the offensive odor and implementing safeguards that protect the safety and quality of life for nearby residents and workers at the landfill," said Koster at a press conference in the Attorney General’s St. Louis office.
On May 7 Republic began notifying residents of the lodging program, including extended hotel accommodations for the duration of excavation work on the six reinforced concrete pipes. Republic believes that an increase in the offensive odor may occur during this removal work. For those residents who wish to stay with friends or family, compensation is provided at a rate of $125 per week of displacement. Notification efforts by the company will continue in the days ahead and work is set to begin on May 20.
"The safety of nearby residents and workers at the Bridgeton Landfill, as well as the protection of natural resources at and around the site are of paramount concern to the state. This agreement provides the state the authority to ensure that Republic completes remedial work and manages the site in a way that addresses our concerns," said Koster. The Attorney General described this agreement as," representing the first step in addressing the immediate and long-term issues raised by conditions at the site."
Containing and eliminating the subsurface smoldering at the site is important to prevent migration of smoldering beyond the south quarry, where it could threaten the West Lake Landfill site.
"This agreement puts in place a legally enforceable framework for the Missouri Department of Natural Resources to direct Republic to take immediate steps to combat the spread of the fire. Such steps may include the drilling of additional interceptor wells, the installation of additional temperature probes, complete capping of the North Quarry, and ultimately – if necessary – the construction of a physical barrier between the fire and the radioactive material at the West Lake Landfill," explained Koster.
An agreed order of preliminary injunction between the parties will be entered today by the St. Louis County Circuit Court.
Koster filed a lawsuit March 27 that outlined a series of violations of Missouri environmental law by landfill operators. Since then, officials from the Attorney General’s office and other state agencies have engaged in negotiations with Republic Services of Bridgeton and others to achieve an agreed path forward that addressed the state's concerns.