Smoldering Landfill Could Threaten Nuclear Waste
BRIDGETON, Mo. (AP) - Acres of garbage are burning below the surface of a suburban St. Louis landfill, causing a smell so overpowering that people in nearby neighborhoods are reluctant to come out of their homes. But many families are worried about a larger concern.
Just 1,200 feet separate the smoldering area of the Bridgeton Landfill from the West Lake Landfill, which holds nuclear waste dating back to the Manhattan Project. Some people fear that the smoldering could someday reach the waste, possibly sending radioactive particles into the air or groundwater.
Both landfills are owned by subsidiaries of Republic Services.
The company says the risk is remote, and it has a plan approved by regulators, just in case. A spokesman insists the smoldering would take more than 10 years to reach the waste.