More landfill health risks concern Bridgeton residents

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by Russell Kinsaul / News 4

KMOV.com

Posted on November 14, 2013 at 6:59 PM

Updated Thursday, Nov 14 at 7:00 PM

 (KMOV) – The stinky smell is not the problem anymore in Bridgeton. Now, there’s concern the landfill is putting something else into the air that could pose a real danger to workers and residents nearby.

It’s a chemical compound called hydrogen sulfide and according to the health department report, half the days in the last four weeks, air monitors have showed levels that exceeded “health-based guidelines.”

In high concentrations, it can kill a person. News 4’s Russell Kinsaul asked experts if these high levels are posing a risk.

One resident said, “I’m just concerned about my health, my family’s health and my friends and neighbors who have grown up here.”

Residents and workers near the Bridgeton landfill have worried for years that something in the stinky smell coming from the landfill could be harmful to their health.

The landfill now has a cover that’s controlling the foul odor. But a state health department report said for 15 days since mid-October, air monitors around the landfill found elevated levels of hydrogen sulfide, a gas given off by decaying organic material but a dangerous one. This report isn’t sitting well with nearby residents.

“I’m working on my second round of cancer and yeah I’m a little bit concerned,” said John E. James.

News 4 contacted the state health department, Missouri Department of Natural Resources and Republic Services but none of them wanted to be interviewed.

Kinsaul learned the monitors that showed the elevated levels also picked up other sulfur compounds that can drive up the readings.

More sensitive monitors have been able to single out the dangerous hydrogen sulfide and show its levels are within the safe zone, despite the alarming wording in the health department report.

For now, the amount of volatile organic gases released by the landfill has not risen to the level to cause concern that they pose a risk to the public.

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