AG Koster releases new expert reports concluding radiation and other pollutants have migrated off-site at Bridgeton Landfill

Sep 3, 2015, 10:06 AM

— Data also indicates that underground fire has moved beyond the interceptor wells separating the North and South quarries —Jefferson City, Mo. – Attorney General Chris Koster released today new reports from expert witnesses in the case he is prosecuting against Republic Services, Inc. relating to the subsurface fire at the Bridgeton Landfill. Collectively, the reports paint a troubling picture of the environment surrounding the landfill site. Contamination in groundwater outside the landfill perimeter has been identified, including radiological contamination detected in trees surrounding the site. Further, data indicate that the fire has moved past the two rows of interceptor wells positioned at the neck of the landfill, closer to the North Quarry.

Koster’s office gathered the reports to better understand the facts relevant to the lawsuit Koster filed in 2013 against Republic Services for alleged violations of law associated with the still-burning fire. The Attorney General’s Office is publicly releasing the reports because they contain information important to the health and safety of the people who live and work near the landfill.

The reports may be viewed below. Their conclusions are briefly summarized as follows:

  • Drs. Joel Burken and Shoaib Usman, Environmental Engineering Professor and Nuclear Engineering Associate Professors, respectively, at Missouri University of Science and Technology (S&T), detected radiological and organic contamination in trees on the property of neighboring landowners. According to the report, these findings “indicate the off-site migration of RIM [radiologically impacted material], either in groundwater or aerial transport of particulate matter[,]” and similar off-site migration of organic pollutants, likely through movement of leachate-impacted groundwater.
  • Peter Price, a scientist with the Missouri Geological Survey, and Dr. David Wronkiewicz, a Geology Associate Professor at Missouri S&T, discovered volatile organic compounds, including benzene, acetone, and 2-butanone, in high concentrations in the groundwater in wells outside the perimeter of the landfill. They are able to trace the contamination to the landfill by comparing its characteristics to leachate taken from the landfill.
  • Drs. Tony Sperling, a landfill-fire expert and professional engineer, and Ali Abedini, a landfill-gas specialist, concluded that the data show the fire has moved beyond both lines of gas interceptor wells at the “neck” of the landfill, in the direction of the OU-1 radiological area. Drs. Sperling and Abedini also concluded that Republic Services “was negligent in aggressively over-extracting the gas system well outside industry best practices.” They note that oxygen intrusion caused by over-extraction is the leading cause of subsurface fires and smolders in municipal solid waste.
  • Todd Thalhamer, a civil engineer from California with extensive experience investigating landfill fires, concluded that what he described as a “catastrophic event” at the landfill “was foreseeable and preventable.” He stated that business decisions by the landfill’s operators to overdraw gas-collection systems and inadequately maintain the soil cover on the site were factors causing the fire to occur.
  • Dr. Timothy Stark, PhD and professional engineer, performed three separate personal inspections of the landfill site. He observed significant slope degradation and areas where the waste mass had settled, suggesting the underground waste had been consumed by a smoldering / combustion event.
  • Don Wright, a consultant specializing in odor assessment, captured an odor profile from the air surrounding the landfill and was able to identify a dominant odor “emitted by and carried a considerable distance downwind from the Bridgeton Landfill source.”
  • Kenny Hemmen, a registered geologist at Geotechnology, Inc., conducted a feasibility study to analyze remediation options related to potential groundwater contamination. He examined five alternative approaches with the objective of protecting human health and the environment.

In addition to publicly releasing the reports, the Attorney General’s Office forwarded copies to the Environmental Protection Agency, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, and the St. Louis County Public Health Department. Koster encouraged those agencies to carefully review the information in the reports and take further remedial action as appropriate to ensure that the people around the landfill are protected.

“These reports underscore what has been clear from the beginning—Republic Services does not have this site under control,” Koster said. “Not only does the landfill emit a foul odor, it appears that it has poisoned its neighbors’ groundwater and vegetation. The people of Missouri can’t afford to wait any longer—Republic needs to get this site cleaned up.”

Koster’s suit against Republic Services is set for trial in March 2016. He has alleged that Republic’s management of the landfill was negligent and that the company has violated the State’s environmental laws. The suit seeks penalties, actual damages, and punitive damages as a consequence of Republic’s allegedly unlawful conduct.

Full reports:


View of the South Quarry of the Bridgeton Landfill owned by Republic Services

****THIS IS A MUST READ ****** This DISASTER PLAN by St. Louis County covers BRIDGETON, MARYLAND HEIGHTS, HAZELWOOD, VILLAGE OF CHAMP and the CITY OF ST. CHARLES.  (this will also include Earth City and the Riverport Complex.)

And this has the possibility of going past these Cities listed if the winds are high or as has happened near this site, a tornado is happening. BE PREPARED!


Link for the Shelter in Place pamphlet by St. Louis County:



Thank you, St. Louis County for the Emergency Evacuation Plan.

Please, sign the Petition to ask Missouri Governor Jay Nixon to declare a STATE OF EMERGENCY at the Bridgeton Landfill within the West Lake Landfill Complex.

And this has the possibility of going past these Cities listed if the winds are high or as has happened near this site, a tornado is happening. BE PREPARED!

We have been posting about this issue concerning the FIRE at the Bridgeton Landfill within the West Lake Landfill Complex for the past several years. If this site has smoke or steam escaping from the underground fire, it could contain particles of radiation that could be inhaled. Just one particle of the radiation is hazardous to your health.

To keep up to date on this potential disaster, please join the Community Group page WEST LAKE LANDFILL created several years ago by one of the Founders, of Just Moms STL. They also have a FB page Just Moms STL and website, St. Louis Rad Waste Legacy and a YouTube page.

And below are also links to St. Louis County Emergency/Local Emergency Planning Committee.

WEST LAKE LANDFILL (Community Group)


St. Louis Rad Waste Legacy


St. Louis County Links:
St. Louis County Emergency Management/LEPC

Emergency Alert — Click on the Sign up lin at the top of the page and then
Text STLCOOEM to 888777

Regional CommUnity Meeting on West Lake Landfill September 17, 2015

Monthly Meeting of Citizens to discuss information about West Lake Landfill (Radioactive Nuclear Waste) and Bridgeton Landfill (Fire).  This month the discussion was on the Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster’s document release and how to prepare for an emergency, whether that is a Shelter in Place or Evacuation.
Per the AG’s document release,  the Fire in the Bridgeton Landfill is past the interceptor wells and once out of the zone of influence of those interceptor wells,  worst case if the fire moves like it did in the south quarry, is the citizens have 3-6 months before the fire reaches the radioactive nuclear waste.
Please Help.
We have a peition to MO Governor Jay Nixon asking for a State of Emergency.  Please sign if you have not already done so.
Our Presentation is here:
 AG Report is here:
Just Mom’s STL – a Non-Profit Grassroots Organization works with others to bring awareness to the Community and to help them understand what is going on at the site.
Facebook: Just Moms STL and West Lake Landfill
Twitter: #WestLakeLandfill #Bridgeton Landfill #outnow
@westlakelandfil @justmomsstl

Children should grow, not glow!