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SUPERFUND

Dawn Chapman (left) and Karen Nickel wear protective masks at the West Lake Landfill northwest of St. Louis in June. The two women and other residents and local activists are pressing the Environmental Protection Agency for extensive excavation of the Superfund site, which contains radioactive waste. (Washington Post photo by Linda Davidson)

BRIDGETON • Residents will have the chance to respond Monday to a report outlining the health risks from the smoldering Bridgeton Landfill.

State health officials will host a public meeting from 5 to 8:30 p.m. to answer questions and take comments.

Fumes from the landfill may have caused breathing problems in nearby residents in recent years, according to the Bridgeton Public Health Consultation released in September by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. 

The report covers air monitoring data collected near the landfill from 2013 to 2016 by state and federal agencies. An underground fire was detected at the landfill in 2010.

The smoldering released "sulfur-based compounds" into the air, which could have aggravated asthma or lung disease and caused difficulty breathing, headaches, nausea or fatigue, the report says.

Exposure to the landfill also could have increased stress among residents, the report found.

Remedial work at the landfill has now reduced emissions to levels that are unlikely to harm most people, according to state health officials.

Residents have long been concerned the underground fire would reach World War II-era radioactive materials in the adjacent West Lake Landfill. The Environmental Protection Agency announced in September a plan for a partial excavation of the nuclear waste.

The meeting will be held at the Bridgeton Banquet Center, 12259 Natural Bridge Road. The schedule is an open house question and answer period from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., a presentation at 6:30 p.m. followed by an opportunity for public comments. 

A snowstorm Nov. 15 forced the rescheduling of the original meeting. 

Public comments on the report will be accepted through Jan. 18. The report is available at health.mo.gov/bridgeton or at the Bridgeton Trails Library, 3455 McKelvey Road. Public comments may be sent to BridgetonComments@health.mo.gov or to Lorena Locke, Bureau of Environmental Epidemiology, Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, P.O. Box 570, Jefferson City, MO, 65102.


Post-Dispatch coverage of the West Lake and Bridgeton landfills

A landfill is on fire in Bridgeton, and while such "smoldering events" do happen in landfills, this one is close to World War II-era radioactive waste. The Bridgeton Landfill abuts the West Lake Landfill. West Lake is where nuclear waste, the remnants of the Manhattan Project, was dumped decades ago. 

Here is a highlight of some of the Post-Dispatch coverage of the landfill, the radiation and community concerns.

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