(KMOV.com) – A Bridgeton Landfill project expected to make an already smelly situation worse began on Wednesday.
Operators of the landfill believe removing six pipes will help eliminate a strong odor that is bothering residents who live near the landfill that sits near Lambert Airport
But the removal process, expected to last through mid-June, is also expected to make the smell worse for about two weeks. Eventually, the company will put a plastic cap over the landfill.
The work had been scheduled to begin Monday but was delayed by rain.
The company has offered to relocate about 270 households within a mile of the landfill while the work proceeds.
Still, others said they would remain in their homes for fear of theft .
Republic Services offered residents in Spanish Village, the Terrisan Reste Mobile Home Community and a section of the Carrollton Village Condominiums two options: Stay in a hotel for free, or stay with friends and family and receive $125 per week. Some residents said leaving would invite criminals to prey on unoccupied homes.
“If they know you’re gone, it’s a field day—they’ll pick and choose to see whose car is there,” said Darren Gurlen, a resident living near the landfill. “It’s a field day to just sit and watch.”
A spokesperson for Republic Services said security should not be an issue. Bridgeton police said officers will be keeping an extra watch on the three neighborhoods involved in the voluntary evacuation. During a phone call Tuesday morning, Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster and Bridgeton Police Chief Don Hood confirmed reaffirmed their commitment to provide extra security.
The project, dubbed the Reinforced Concrete Pipe Abandonment Project, involves the excavation of small sections of the landfill to remove reinforced concrete pipe sections.
Republic Services says all work should be completed by June 14.
The landfill sits on 52 acres near Lambert Airport. Neighbors have long complained about its smell and raised health concerns as well.