Koster: Bridgeton landfill owners are withholding information on underground fires

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by Russell Kinsaul/ KMOV.com

KMOV.com

Posted on January 10, 2014 at 7:54 PM

Updated Friday, Jan 10 at 8:26 PM

(KMOV.com) -- The Missouri Attorney General is asking a judge to force Republic Services to turn over information about the underground fire at the Bridgeton landfill.

Attorney General Chris Koster thinks the owners of the landfill are holding back information that could be critical to the community’s safety and that’s why he’s taking them to court.

Koster said the information the company won’t release puts its own workers, the public and first responders at imminent and serious risk. The information Koster talked about deals with readings of the carbon monoxide levels given off by the underground fire.

Landfill owners have released carbon monoxide data on the southern half of the landfill but not on the northern part, closest to the radioactive waste.

Captain Matt Lavanchy with the Pattonville Fire Protection District said he is worried the public is being kept in the dark about the fire’s location and the risk of it reaching the radioactive waste. Lavanchy said his firefighters would be in the dark about where it’s safe and where it’s not if they had to respond to an emergency at the landfill

Republic Services released a statement saying “we expect to provide additional carbon monoxide monitoring and we believe that the data will validate that the site is safe.”

“It’s borderline criminal to put this community and these first responders in that type of situation,” said Lavanchy.

No date has been set for that court hearing. Monday EPA contractors will start taking core samples to help them pick a spot for a firebreak trench that’ll be built to ensure the fire doesn’t reach the radioactive material. 

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