Officials with Republic Services say the smell at Bridgeton will get worse before it gets better.
Monday's rain pushed back the start of work to remove sections of concrete pipe in the landfill. Engineers say the pipe removal will make the ground in and around the landfill safer, but the smell will be worse while work is underway.
The project was initially supposed to be completed on April 30, but with rain forecast through Thursday, it is still unclear when work will get underway. Contractors and company officials will meet midweek to discuss a starting date.
The lawsuit filed Wednesday stems from an underground fire at the Bridgeton Sanitary Landfill near Lambert Airport. The fire is causing a foul-smelling odor that is drawing complaints from nearby homes, businesses, hospitals and senior care centers.
The suit against the landfill owner, Republic Services Inc., asks that Republic bear the cost of cleanup, remediation and monitoring.
Messages seeking comment from the landfill and Republic were not returned. In a statement on its website, Bridgeton Landfill says it is working to fix the problem. Forty wells will be added by April 15 to remove odor-causing gas, then a cap will be installed over the odor-causing area of the landfill.
Homeowners who live near a Bridgeton landfill should learn more about what Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster has planned concerning their complaints. Koster will speak with reporters later this morning about the stench that has lingered for months.
The Department of Natural Resources recently ran test of the area. State officials determined the area tested for high levels of hydrogen sulfide in the air. Hydrogen sulfide often causes headaches and irritation to eyes, nose and throat.
The DNR then sent the findings to Koster’s office.Republic Services owns the Bridgeton Landfill. The company sent a statement that said there is no proof the hydrogen sulfide in the air is from their landfill.
NR Director Sara Parker Pauley sent a letter Thursday asking the attorney general’s agricultural and environment division to "institute appropriate legal action" against the Bridgeton Sanitary Landfill on St. Charles Rock Road. The move comes of the heels of a lawsuit filed by residents against Republic Services, which owns the 52-acre site just north of Lambert Airport.
The Phoenix-based company says they've been cooperating with state and local officials to deal with the problems.
The action follows testing by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources that showed elevated levels of hydrogen sulfide in the air. The noxious compound can cause headaches, eye, nose and throat irritation, and even breathing trouble.
But a representative for the company that owns the landfill, Republic Services, denies any danger. Republic officials say EPA and DNR testing show the odor presents no risk to the public.
A report on the DNR website says the levels of hydrogen sulfide are high enough to warrant monitoring and would pose a health risk if they intensify further.
The Department of Natural Resources on Friday released a summary of recent air sampling results from the landfill. The samples showed "concentrations did not exceed a level of concern for public health." One sample collected near the landfill boundary, however, had a benzene concentration above the level considered safe.
An area deep within the inactive landfill has been smoldering for more than two years, emitting a foul odor that has generated several complaints.
Landfill operator, Phoenix-based Republic Services Inc., says it's spending millions of dollars to address the problem.
An environmental group says more testing is needed.