EPA: Remedy to Landfill Fire to Come in 2015

27 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Attorney General Reacts To Brush Fire Near Bridgeton Landfill.

A plan to make sure an underground St. Louis-area landfill fire doesn’t reach a cache of Cold War-era nuclear waste buried nearby will come before the end of 2015, an Environmental Protection Agency administrator said Monday. Meanwhile, the agency charged with overseeing the radioactively contaminated West Lake Landfill said it would require the dump’s owner to put a stronger plan in place to deal with surface fires like the one that broke out this weekend. LOUIS (KMOX) –Following Saturday afternoon’s brush fire at the Bridgeton Landfill, Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster is reminding the EPA of the urgency to find a remedy. EPA Region 7’s acting administrator Mark Hague emphasized to reporters that the brush fire sparked by faulty electric switch did not reach the landfill or cause the release of any contaminants.

Therefore, EPA’s recent announcement is merely one step in an ongoing duty that will last as long as the landfill burns…” (TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. The EPA detailed its plans for better fire protection while residents of Bridgeton and neighboring suburbs are increasingly on edge about the danger posed by the long-burning Bridgeton Landfill and adjacent radioactive contamination. We’re not going to rush it just for expediency.” On Saturday, a fire blamed on a faulty utility pole ignited brush on the West Lake Landfill’s grounds. In the unlikely scenario that the two do meet, he said the worst case scenario would be a far cry from the situation detailed in an emergency response plan released earlier this month by St.

Louis County. “Depending on what happened and what the composition of the material would be, if there were some subsidence or ‘dropping,’ if you will, of the current cover that’s on West Lake, there might be some increased releases of radon into the atmosphere that would dissipate out,” Hague said. Hague insisted the subsurface smoldering was “not rapidly advancing” toward the buried cache of nuclear waste, and he called prospects that fire could reach the radioactive material a “highly unlikely event.” Government officials quietly have adopted an emergency plan in case the smolder — dating to at least 2010, its origin still unknown — ever reached the nuclear waste, unleashing a potentially “catastrophic event” that could send up a plume of radioactive smoke over a densely populated area near the city’s main airport. The EPA has refuted those reports, and Republic Services has said the state’s lawsuit against it over the underground Bridgeton Landfill fire is driving them. Republic, which has long insisted it has the fire under control, has released depositions with one of the state’s experts who backtracked on his statements on the fire’s movement toward West Lake.

Republic Services is spending millions of dollars to ease or eliminate the smell by removing concrete pipes that allowed the odor to escape and installing plastic caps over parts of the landfill. Attorney General Koster filed suit against Republic Services Inc. to hold the company accountable for the oppressive stench caused by the burning landfill and for the pollution the landfill fire has caused to Missouri’s natural resources. While there has been much back-and-forth over the past few weeks over how dangerous the landfill might be, at least three things are certain: The landfill is still burning, it still stinks, and Republic hasn’t paid for the environmental damage it has done. It should determine a “clean line” where some sort of infrastructure separating the two landfills can be installed without coming into contact with radiological contamination. The Attorney General’s office will continue to press Republic in court to ensure that the public and the State’s land and water are protected.”

Ongoing studies should provide the EPA with better information on the type and location of the waste, and the agency will use that to propose a fix to clean up or contain West Lake. “We need that data to make that good decision,” Hague said. “In the short term, we need to do these measures to provide the public with some confidence while that work is going on.”

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