- Republic Services, which owns both the Bridgeton Landfill and West Lake Landfill in Missouri, has casted doubts on the validity of the issue that has been causing so many residents near the city fear. Although it has been reported that a Bridgeton Landfill fire is creeping dangerously close to the radioactive waste at West Lake Landfill, the issue at hand may not be as pressing as it has been believed.
- During a deposition with a Republic Services attorney, landfill fire consultant Tony Sperling has said that he has "not examined the information at the neck in the level of detail to determine if there is movement" of the fire. He also seemed to express regret about the way that his "worst-case scenario estimate" has been interpreted, according to St. Louis Public Radio.
- Sperling has also clarified that the "fire" at the Bridgeton Landfill is actually a chemical reaction, not a fire, and it is confined to the landfill's south quarry.
For more than a year, Waste Dive has been following the issue at the Bridgeton Landfill as reports have indicated a dangerous situation may unfold if the fire reaches the adjacent West Lake Landfill. Despite evacuation plans and concerns from the public, Republic has continued to assure residents that the fire is not as concerning as it may seem — and now Sperling is agreeing.
During his deposition with Republic, Sperling was asked "If there are people out there calling for evacuations and calling for a state of emergency and running disaster preparedness drills and scaring the hell out of the people of St. Louis County because you said [the reaction could soon reach West Lake], then that's really taking it a lot further than you intended, right?"
Sperling responded, "Correct."
The following statement was provided by a spokesperson for Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster: "The litigation process involves extensive back-and-forth between witnesses and lawyers, and here Republic’s legal team has worked hard to distract the public from the real issue – the Bridgeton landfill has been burning for years, and no amount of cross-examination can clear the stench of smoldering plastic from the community. We look forward to taking this case to a jury at trial."
The trial is scheduled to start on March 7, 2016.