Report: Landfill fire may be moving closer to waste, 09/05/2014

KSDK
Grant Bissell

BRIDGETON, Mo. – A new report suggests an underground fire at the Bridgeton Landfill may be moving closer to nuclear waste buried nearby.

The information comes just days after it was announced construction on a barrier between the fire and the waste will be delayed 18 months.

The South Quarry of the Bridgeton Landfill has been smoldering underground for three years. There are a number of devices called gas interceptor wells that are designed to keep the smoldering from moving north and reaching the radioactive waste buried at the West Lake Landfill.

Renowned landfill consultant Todd Thalhamer says those well may have failed.

Thalhammer’s report to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources points out a number of devices at the border of the South Quarry show elevated temperatures, carbon monoxide and hydrogen levels. Those are all signs of fire.

However, Thalhamer also points out that a number of the devices in the area are either not working, or their data isn’t being collected.

He says, based on the trends, the smoldering event is at or just past the gas interceptor well system.

Russ Knocke, senior spokesman for Republic Services, issued this statement in response to the report:

“Yet again, Mr. Thalhamer is using limited data to manufacture an argument which the totality of data refutes He ignores the lack of settlement and absence of carbon monoxide in the North Quarry.Both are scientific indicators of the reaction’s location and movement. All data continues to confirm that the reaction is in the South Quarry, moving away from the adjacent West Lake Landfill and the neck in-between the two sites.”

Thalhamer is calling for more tests to determine exactly how far the fire is from the radioactive material.

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