- The Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) has required Republic Services to study the effects of groundwater contamination at the Bridgeton Landfill site, as reported by St. Louis Public Radio.
- The state cited groundwater sampling reports from Oct. 2014 to April 2016, conducted by a Republic-hired contractor, which show an increase in substances that exceed federal levels such as benzene.
- Republic is now required to study the direction of groundwater flow, install new wells at the landfill and notify nearby property owners of the issue.
Bridgeton's underground fire continues to burn and cause concerns among local residents about its proximity to nuclear waste at the nearby West Lake Landfill. Republic has spent more than $200 million on treatment and monitoring and recently reached a settlement with dozens of homeowners for "alleged loss of use or enjoyment of their property as a result of the subsurface reaction." The company continues to maintain that the landfill is not an imminent hazard to local residents.
"After years of intensive groundwater monitoring, there has been no evidence of off-site downstream impacts attributable to the landfill," said Russ Knocke, Republic Services' vice president of communications and public affairs in a statement, as reported by St. Louis Public Radio. "Federal regulators have been clear that no one will ever drink or use the groundwater at the site. It will never be a public water source. These test results are unlikely to affect any regulators' plans. In addition, MDNR's letter will not change the ongoing, comprehensive groundwater monitoring regime and liquids management processes at the site."
The company has touted its economic benefits to Missouri overall, but some local residents remain unconvinced. As has been seen with other landfill contamination issues residents often hold the operator responsible, regardless of the full details, and that can be a hard dynamic to change.