Missouri Attorney General
St. Louis, Mo. – Attorney General Chris Koster today announced that he has reached an agreement with Republic Services on a series of additional measures to control the underground fire and ongoing odor nuisance at the Bridgeton Landfill. An amended agreement was signed by the parties and Judge Jamison of the St. Louis County Circuit Court today, as an order of the court in the pending case.
Today’s order includes several new measures to monitor the migration of the subsurface smolder, part of the ongoing effort to keep it from reaching the radioactive material at the West Lake Landfill. These measures include:
- Monthly comprehensive carbon monoxide testing in the neck-area separating the north and south quarries.
- Carbon monoxide testing in the north quarry every sixty days, increasing to thirty-day intervals if any temperature readings exceed 145 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Carbon monoxide testing in the south quarry every sixty days.
Analysts use carbon monoxide and temperature data to better understand the location and movement of the smoldering event at the site. Under a January 2014 agreement, Republic was providing this data every sixty days on an interim basis until June 19.
The order also requires Republic to implement a new odor control plan, including:
- Utilization of new technology to detect and log odor nuisance events.
- A vapor recovery system to capture odors during the transfer of leachate to trucks used for off-site disposal. Eventually leachate will be directly piped off-site for disposal.
- Closure and removal of tanks formerly used to treat leachate at the site.
- A backup flare system to burn off odorous gases on-site, with a supplemental natural gas supply installed within 3 weeks of the order to reduce flare downtime.
- Republic to investigate and implement additional odor neutralizing measures.
Finally, Republic must increase the frequency of landfill gas collection and testing for hazardous substances. The first round of gas collection and testing must begin in 45 days. Under the previous agreement, comprehensive gas collection and testing was conducted only once annually. Today’s agreement increases the frequency to every six months. This follows detection of benzene gas at the landfill’s perimeter in early June.
Republic also agreed to reimburse the state of Missouri for excess state costs associated with monitoring and oversight at the landfill. Under 2013’s first agreed order, Republic agreed to reimburse the state up to $900,000. Republic will now reimburse the state up to $1.49 million for oversight costs, and the state retains the ability to seek recovery of future costs above the revised expense cap.
The St. Louis County Circuit Court previously set an August 2015 trial in the state’s lawsuit against Republic Services. Final determinations on civil penalties and damages against Republic will be a part of the resolution of the underlying lawsuit now headed for a 2015 trial.
Koster reiterated that Republic remains under a court order to construct an isolation barrier to prevent the underground smolder from reaching the radioactive material at the West Lake Landfill. He also renewed his demand on the EPA to produce data on testing for radioactive material along the routes used to haul nuclear waste to West Lake.
“Protection of public health and the safety of the community remain our highest priorities as we move ahead to control the fire and the odor,” said Koster. “Our goal is to ensure that Republic keeps the fire from reaching the West Lake Landfill as we move forward on a final determination on penalties against Republic.”