Protesters urge residents to attend landfill meeting

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BRIDGETON, MO (KTVI)-With another excessive odor warning in recent days, workers were scrambling to contain the potential threat from a Bridgeton landfill complex Saturday. Residents were also scrambling to organize an army of supporters for a showdown with the EPA.

“Our goal is 500 people at Pattonville High School, Tuesday night.  More would be welcome.  EPA only seems to understand a show of force,” said Donna Klocke, one of the protesters who held picket signs along the St. Charles Rock Road Saturday, alerting residents to the meeting.

It was the “little protest that could”.

The number of picketers dropped to only 3 after starting about a dozen strong two hours earlier; people who just a few months ago never expected to be there holding signs.

“'Not in a million years,” said protester, Lynn Leak. “I’ve lived here for 12 years now.  I never knew anything about it until 2 months ago.”

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“This Spring,” Klocke said. “I went down there thinking, ‘oh there`s a meeting about the landfill, wonder what’s going on?’  Son of a gun, here were all the senators, congressmen, mayors, and the people from the government, DNR, EPA...it was like, ‘oh my goodness’.”

Workers at the old Bridgeton sanitary landfill site were pulling weekend duty to complete an emergency capping of 32 acres of landfill, to limit odors from what overseers call an underground 'reaction', speeding up decomposition of trash 320 feet thick from high above to deep below the ground level, causing spikes in the release of nuisance gases.

Protesters call it a massive underground trash fire, creeping toward radioactive waste in the adjacent West Lake landfill.

“I’ve had to go to my son’s house twice this week, (the odor) was so bad.  My eyes water like I’m crying.  My nose burns,” Leak said. |

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The EPA is holding a public meeting on the landfill`s future Tuesday night at 6:30 at Pattonville High.

Protesters said the capping was operation fruitless.

“They’re wanting to cap it.  We want it out of here,” Leak said.

“Right now, they need to stop this fire. Eventually I’d like to see it all hauled out of here;  but right now, people are in danger,” Klocke said.

Republic Services, which owns the landfill, maintains the installation of gas interceptor wells to minimize risk from the fire is working.

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