St. Louis Post-Dispatch
by Jacob Barker
The study would compare a randomized sample of residents living near the burning Bridgeton Landfill to another group, St. Louis County Health Department Director Faisal Khan said Monday at a meeting with residents who live near the landfill. The idea is to see whether the landfill, which has been smoldering underground for years, may be pushing up respiratory ailments.
Khan said the survey will look for asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and allergy conditions among the 4,300 households within a two-mile radius of the landfill.
Some residents have complained of respiratory illness caused by emissions from the landfill. Khan first announced the survey a year ago and said the health department has spent recent months designing and planning the study.
The Bridgeton Landfill began smoldering in December 2010. Republic Services capped the landfill and installed emission control equipment in mid-2013.
Also Monday, the Environmental Protection Agency announced it plans to investigate and possibly order a cleanup of groundwater underneath the West Lake Landfill, where radioactive waste was buried in the 1970s.
Elevated levels of radium have been found in groundwater beneath the landfill, which is slated for an EPA-overseen cleanup. But federal officials have said there’s no risk of drinking water contamination because there are no wells nearby.