(KMOV) -- The government shutdown is holding up safety work at a pair of Bridgeton landfills and the State Attorney General is now saying it's essential for the federal inspectors to return to the site to protect the public and environment.
Employees from the Environmental Protection Agency are needed to test the site before work on a protective wall can begin to separate smoldering in the Bridgeton Landfill and radioactive waste in the neighboring West Lake Landfill.
"Not only is the government shut down, and we don't have our EPA, we don't have a lot of our federally elected officials to lean on... to say hey we have a problem, so it's been a pretty scary situation," said Maryland Heights resident Dawn Chapman.
Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster sent a letter to the EPA Tuesday, saying it is "essential" that testing and work at the site proceed without delay.
In the letter, Koster also said it's important that the work to build the wall begin soon, or weather could delay the wall project until spring.
"Cold weather is one of many variables which can affect the planning and construction of the proposed improvements at the Bridgeton Landfill. We are eager to resume work with the EPA, in conjunction with state agencies, to begin the next phase of the construction," says a statement from Bridgeton Landfill, LLC.
The EPA could not be reached for comment Wednesday because of the shutdown.