Storm water runoff from the smoldering Bridgeton Landfill will be tested for contamination, state officials said Tuesday.
The water on Monday poured over a grassy berm, down a hill and into a drainage ditch that runs along St. Charles Rock Road and leads to the Missouri River. The overflow marks the latest problem at the inactive landfill, where an underground fire was first noticed five years ago.
State Rep. Bill Otto, D-Maryland Heights, took pictures of the flooding and said the water flowed near the chain-link fence with yellow warning signs separating the adjacent West Lake Landfill where radioactive waste was dumped in the 1970s.
“This is not a controlled runoff,” Otto said. “If they contend this didn’t reach into the fence where the radioactive material is, map it out and show me how it didn’t go under the fence.”
Officials said the flood water originated from storm water structures along the Bridgeton Landfill’s north quarry and traveled through terraces before falling over the edge.
“As the runoff came from within the Bridgeton Landfill, it is unlikely that it transported any radiological materials located in … the West Lake Landfill Superfund site,” said Angela Brees, a spokeswoman for the Environmental Protection Agency.
The state Department of Natural Resources oversees the Bridgeton Landfill, which connects to the West Lake Landfill. Staff from the department inspected the area and collected water samples for lab testing, according to spokesman Tom Bastian. The department will also evaluate the flood management system at the landfill.
Both landfills are owned by waste management company Republic Services, which supports the EPA’s 2008 plan to place a cap over West Lake Landfill. That plan is now being reconsidered.
“There are no actual issues on either site due to rain. It’s just rainwater,” said company spokesman Richard Callow. “It has happened in every major rain storm for 40 years. A cap on West Lake five years ago or five years from now would be a good thing.”