Report: Missouri landfill emissions once posed health risks

1 year 4 months 3 weeks ago Friday, September 21 2018 Sep 21, 2018 Friday, September 21, 2018 5:02:52 PM CDT September 21, 2018 in News
By: The Associated Press

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Emissions near a troubled St. Louis County landfill once posed health concerns for workers and nearby residents, but the risks have largely disappeared thanks to cleanup efforts, according to a state report released Friday.

The report from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services is based on air quality data collected near Bridgeton Landfill, which has come under intense scrutiny because a smoldering underground fire burns only a few hundred yards from Cold War-era nuclear waste. The landfill operators have spent millions to keep the two separate and eliminate odor and gas emissions, and the Environmental Protection Agency is expected to announce a plan soon to clean up the radioactive material.

The smoldering fire that has burned for nearly a decade has at times created gas emissions and an odor so intense that nearby residents have complained about health issues. The state report indicates their concern was well-founded.

The report cited air sampling from 2013 through 2016 compiled by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and the EPA. Levels of sulfur-based compounds and sulfur dioxide were high enough to aggravate respiratory diseases such as asthma or chronic cardiopulmonary diseases, the study showed. Children and elderly adults were especially susceptible to symptoms such as chest tightness or difficulty breathing.

Breathing the odor of sulfur-based compounds may also have caused headaches, nausea, fatigue, stress, impaired mood and higher risk of respiratory infection, the report said.

Dawn Chapman, a Bridgeton resident and activist, said the report offers heartbreaking confirmation of what residents already believed.

"We've really suffered here," said Chapman, whose 10-year-old daughter has asthma. "They're confirming our worst fears — our kids have an increased risk for all of these things. It's horrifying."

Landfill owner Republic Services has invested more than $200 million to control odor and to make sure the fire doesn't reach the nuclear waste that was illegally buried at the site in the 1970s. The report suggests those efforts are paying off: Gas emissions today are down 80 percent and are no longer likely to pose a chronic health risk, the health department said.

Jonathan Garoutte, administrator of the state health department's section for environmental public health, called the trend "encouraging."

The study also found that the cancer risk for those living nearby was "similar to those in other urban environments in the United States."

Republic Services spokesman Richard Callow said the new report was surprising because the health department's previous reporting found no impact to human health, and St. Louis County's health investigation found no significant risk of asthma and other respiratory conditions.

"We can agree that air emissions are normal today, and odor has been under control since 2013," Callow said in a statement.

The underground fire began in December 2010. The cause isn't known, but complaints from neighboring residents prompted a lawsuit by then-Attorney General Chris Koster in 2013. The lawsuit was settled in June when Republic Services and former owners of the landfill agreed to pay $16 million.

More News

Grid
List
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A former Missouri State Highway Patrol trooper who was driving a boat when a... More >>
9 minutes ago Monday, February 17 2020 Feb 17, 2020 Monday, February 17, 2020 12:21:43 PM CST February 17, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Members of the National Federation of the Blind of Missouri will spend two days at the capitol,... More >>
16 hours ago Sunday, February 16 2020 Feb 16, 2020 Sunday, February 16, 2020 7:34:00 PM CST February 16, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA – Members of Rock Bridge High School’s Students Demand Action group hosted a forum Sunday where local leaders answered... More >>
17 hours ago Sunday, February 16 2020 Feb 16, 2020 Sunday, February 16, 2020 7:07:00 PM CST February 16, 2020 in News
LACEDE COUNTY- One teen died and three others suffered injuries in a single-car-accident Saturday afternoon. The driver of the... More >>
18 hours ago Sunday, February 16 2020 Feb 16, 2020 Sunday, February 16, 2020 5:48:00 PM CST February 16, 2020 in News
VIENNA- On Thursday, February 13, Task Force Officers, Vienna Police Department, and the Maries County Sheriff’s Office executed a search... More >>
19 hours ago Sunday, February 16 2020 Feb 16, 2020 Sunday, February 16, 2020 4:43:00 PM CST February 16, 2020 in News
ST. LOUIS COUNTY (AP) — Two teenagers have been arrested in connection with a fatal shooting last week, and authorities... More >>
20 hours ago Sunday, February 16 2020 Feb 16, 2020 Sunday, February 16, 2020 4:00:00 PM CST February 16, 2020 in News
HALLSVILLE- A house fire broke out off North Frink Road Sunday afternoon. Firefighters found a fire in the attic... More >>
22 hours ago Sunday, February 16 2020 Feb 16, 2020 Sunday, February 16, 2020 2:19:00 PM CST February 16, 2020 in News
CAMDEN COUNTY — Linn Creek, Missouri Police Chief Greg Berry was arrested Saturday afternoon by the Missouri State Highway Patrol.... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, February 16 2020 Feb 16, 2020 Sunday, February 16, 2020 11:32:00 AM CST February 16, 2020 in Top Stories
COLUMBIA — Two women were seriously injured after head-on collision between a Prius and a semi-truck early Sunday morning, according... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, February 16 2020 Feb 16, 2020 Sunday, February 16, 2020 10:41:00 AM CST February 16, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - A new route and a new bus shelter will be added at the intersection of Rice Road and... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, February 16 2020 Feb 16, 2020 Sunday, February 16, 2020 10:00:00 AM CST February 16, 2020 in Top Stories
COLUMBIA - Thousands of people and more than 300 gallons of chili filled the Expo Center Saturday for the 15th... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, February 15 2020 Feb 15, 2020 Saturday, February 15, 2020 7:50:00 PM CST February 15, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA — Runners braved the cold weather Saturday morning for the R.A.M.S 5K. R.A.M.S is a nonprofit MU organization... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, February 15 2020 Feb 15, 2020 Saturday, February 15, 2020 6:44:00 PM CST February 15, 2020 in News
FESTUS (AP) — Police in eastern Missouri say a 73-year-old man has been shot to death, and his 42-year-old son... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, February 15 2020 Feb 15, 2020 Saturday, February 15, 2020 5:28:00 PM CST February 15, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - One of Missouri State Highway Patrol's vehicles was struck by a semitruck late Thursday night. MSHP shared... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, February 15 2020 Feb 15, 2020 Saturday, February 15, 2020 4:44:00 PM CST February 15, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - Don Allard, who served as Columbia’s city manager for 12 years, died Wednesday in Arvada, Colorado, after a... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, February 15 2020 Feb 15, 2020 Saturday, February 15, 2020 4:10:00 PM CST February 15, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - Four candidates are running for three open seats on the Columbia School Board. Although there are less... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, February 15 2020 Feb 15, 2020 Saturday, February 15, 2020 3:41:00 PM CST February 15, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Local nonprofit Building Community Bridges held its monthly community day Saturday afternoon. Saturday's event had a... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, February 15 2020 Feb 15, 2020 Saturday, February 15, 2020 3:00:00 PM CST February 15, 2020 in News
CAPE GIRARDEAU (AP) — A jury has awarded $265 million in punitive damages to a Missouri peach grower who sued... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, February 15 2020 Feb 15, 2020 Saturday, February 15, 2020 2:41:00 PM CST February 15, 2020 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 45°
1pm 51°
2pm 52°
3pm 54°
4pm 54°