State rep. warns residents of future landfill odors

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BRIDGETON, MO (KPLR)-There’s a new warning about two troubled landfills in Bridgeton:  the foul odors may soon get much worse and stretch all the way to Chesterfield, Missouri State Rep. Bill Otto (D) Maryland Heights said.

Otto scheduled a weekend open house meetings in his district Saturday for constituents to cover any issues they may have.

They seemed to all have pretty much the same issues:  the intense odors coming from the Bridgeton landfill plus the underground fire burning there and whether that fire may spread to the nuclear waste buried at the Westlake landfill next door.

There are already concerns that nuclear waste is leaking off-site.

“To be assured whether this material is migrating off site at Westlake…that’s the biggest, biggest question that needs to be answered,” Otto told Fox 2.

Recent testing by a citizens group showed a spike of gamma radiation in a soil sample from the Bridgeton Municipal Athletic Complex about a mile from Westlake.

The EPA assured residents Friday that there was no credible information indicating contamination at the complex but also announced experts would roll special testing equipment over the surface area of the complex to check for any traces of contamination.

Even if no nuclear waste has leaked off-site, Otto said there was another huge concern:  the odor.  It could be about to get a lot worse and stretch over much of St. Louis County from Bridgeton to Chesterfield, he said.  .

“I have a concern when they open us this dump that the odor’s going to be horrific,” Otto said.

The odors are coming from the Bridgeton landfill.

Workers are about to begin digging a trench around it to eliminate the possibility of the underground fire there from spreading to the nuclear waste at Westlake.

“The longer it smells the less likely people are going to go, ‘let’s go to that restaurant, you know it smelled 6 months ago we’re not going to go back’.  That’s devastating for retail and it’s just not good for the local area,” Otto said.

It may take years for the fire to burn itself out and the odor to fade for good, he added.

The installation of air monitors and site preparation at the Bridgeton landfill would take about six weeks, Otto said. Then, the digging could begin.

The EPA is still investigating a long-term solution for what to do with the nuclear waste at Westlake.

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