(KMOV.com) -- Many residents living near the Bridgeton landfill have relocated to nearby hotels as work expected to begin this week will make an already smelly situation there worse.
Work intially schedculed to begin Monday will temporarily increase the noxious smell coming from the landfill. But contruction was pushed back at least a day after poor weather swept through the St. Louis area. Crews said they would meet again Tuesday morning to determine when they will begin.
Republic says once the project starts crews will remove six concrete columns from the landfill, which will make the smell worse for about two weeks. Eventually, the company will put a plastic cap over the landfill.
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.
The plan, 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.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.