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Bridgeton Landfill

A dump truck and backhoe put fill dirt into the Bridgeton landfill on Aug. 13, 2014. (Photo by Jacob Barker/Post-Dispatch, file)

Republic Services will provide more carbon monoxide data from the Bridgeton Landfill to Missouri regulators under a new order from a St. Louis County Circuit Court judge, but the company says the data it has already submitted show the area is under control.

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster asked Judge Michael Jamison last month to order monthly carbon monoxide reporting from an area near the radiologically contaminated West Lake Landfill.

Carbon monoxide can indicate the presence of fire. A smoldering fire began in the south quarry of the Bridgeton Landfill four years ago, where Republic Services says it has contained it.

Republic Services’ attorneys accused Koster in court filings of attempting to “spread panic and fear amongst his constituency” and asserted that the conditions of the landfill were at a managed state.

A spokesman on Wednesday pointed to recently submitted January data that show temperatures have dipped and methane levels have increased in some of the wells from which Koster sought the additional carbon monoxide data. Carbon monoxide levels in the neck — the section that connects the north and south quarries — have also decreased, Republic said.

“The latest data also confirms that all gas wells in the north quarry, which is the area closest in proximity to the radiologically impacted material in the adjacent West Lake Landfill, are operating at normal conditions,” spokesman Russ Knocke said in a statement.

Republic Services is under a court order to control odors, emissions and contaminated liquid at the Bridgeton Landfill, where an underground fire has been smoldering for four years. It regularly submits certain data to regulators, but in recent reports, it has not reported carbon monoxide data from some of the gas wells near West Lake and referenced in Koster’s request.

It will now have to report carbon monoxide from those wells, according to the court order.

“Additional temperature data, coupled with monthly (carbon monoxide) data from the 13 existing gas extraction wells, helps alert the state and the public to possible migration of the underground fire in the north,” Koster said in a statement. “Our goal remains to have access to the same information Republic has, to carefully consider threats to public safety.”

Judge Jamison also ruled that his court has authority to order sampling at the landfill, which could be used to test how much radioactive material is in the Bridgeton Landfill. Recent studies have shown at least some radiologically contaminated waste is outside of West Lake.

Though Republic initially argued that would interfere with the Environmental Protection Agency’s handling of the West Lake site, the company said that Koster’s office had agreed to work with the agency on sampling and that its concerns had been resolved.

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