State report: Exposure to air near Bridgeton Landfill may have harmed people’s health via St. Louis Public News


Updated at 5:45 p.m. with statement from Republic Services — The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services has determined that past exposure to sulfur-based compounds in the air near the Bridgeton landfill may have harmed the health of area residents and workers.

In a report released Friday, health officials said the odors may have aggravated chronic conditions such as asthma or caused respiratory problems. That came as no surprise to area activists, who have long said emissions from the landfill are hazardous.


Area residents and activists have long complained that a fire under the Bridgeton landfill has caused foul odors and respiratory problems. The fire, expected to smolder until 2024, is located about 600 feet from World War II-era radioactive waste under the nearby West Lake Landfill.

They said it was significant the state health report found that odors from the landfill had made breathing difficult for people with chronic diseases such as asthma or chronic cardiopulmonary disease, or had caused respiratory problems for people who live or work near the landfill.

“We are always grateful when we’re told the truth, even when the truth is painful” said activist Dawn Chapman a Maryland Heights resident and member of Just Moms STL. “With that said, we are devastated to find out there was a real threat of harm to our families — and this was discovered even without having all the critical data.”


In June, the state of Missouri reached a settlement with the owners of the Bridgeton landfill over how they’ve handled the underground fire. Former Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster filed suit against the companies in 2013.

The agreement calls for Bridgeton Landfill LLC, Allied Services LLC and Republic Services to put $12.5 million in a “community project fund” to compensate residents affected by the landfill. The owners also agreed to pay $3.5 million in penalties and damages to the state.

Bridgeton Landfill LLC has said it had “voluntarily invested more than $200 million in odor control, environmental remediation and site enhancements.”

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