Settlement reached in suit over Bridgeton Landfill

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ST. LOUIS (KTVI)-- Residents living near the Bridgeton Landfill will soon be receiving news about a class action lawsuit settlement.  The owners of the landfill have agreed to pay out more than $6.8 million.   The settlement is over the odor residents have been complaining about for the past several years.  The average resident will be offered a little more than $12,000.  The offers vary depending on where residents live.

The attorney representing families around the landfill said 400 homeowners will be notified about their options in the incoming days.  He said residents accepting the settlement would not be able to take legal action against the landfill over the odor in the future.  They would still be able to file a lawsuit over any future health problems.

"It`s a fair amount of money and it`s going to be paid quickly without years and years of litigation," said Tag Gianaris, Simmons Law Firm.

A citizens group held one of its regularly scheduled meetings Thursday night to discuss ongoing health concerns.  Residents fear they are being exposed to health dangers from radioactive waste that`s been stored at the Westlake Landfill.  There is an underground fire at the adjacent Bridgeton Landfill.

The EPA has not conducted off-site testing, which many residents want.   The citizens group now has its own testing equipment and plans on using it to prove their case.  Their ultimate solution would be for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to safely remove the old nuclear waste and transport it to a facility designed to handle it.

Bridgeton resident Cuck Bell will weigh his options carefully before accepting the settlement offer.  He fears odors will only grow worse when work begins on building a wall between the radioactive waste and the underground fire.

"So to sign off on something right now before they`re going to start this project is just a big concern for us," said Bell.  He said his biggest concern is the health of his family and residents in the neighborhood.

Bridgeton resident Robin Dailey was relieved to hear a settlement was reached.

"It`s been long overdue," she said.  Dailey went on to say that even if some residents used the money on a down payment on a new home, they would probably have a tough time selling their existing one.

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