Update: A waste management company that oversees a landfill in Bridgeton is aware that residents have been making a big stink about apparently awful, horrible smells forcing people to cover their faces when they go outside -- so bad that some say they can't even escape the stench inside their own home. Our original coverage is below.
Since writing about the odor problem, we have heard from Republic Services, the company in charge of the allegedly smelly landfills -- and the folks responsible for answering all questions about the smell, according to Bridgeton city officials.
If the company sticks to the promise made in the official response to Daily RFT, it could be some good news for Bridgeton residents longing for normal smells in the air. And Republic Services is very sorry.
Here's the statement in full from the company's media department:
To address odors that have been building over the last several months at the Bridgeton Landfill, we started a project this week that will upgrade our gas management system. We are drilling additional gas wells and installing equipment. That work, unfortunately, has, and will continue to result in additional odors until complete.
We are very sorry for the inconvenience. We will do everything we can to minimize the odors and to implement a long-term solution.
Original post, January 24, 11:28 a.m: Bridgeton Odor Problem: What Is Causing a Really Putrid Smell in the City?
Bridgeton, Missouri stinks -- literally.
So says a KMOV Channel 4 story that goes so far as to reference the station's brave photographer who struggled through the difficult assignment of actually going to the city to investigate the odor problem. The "smell was so bad, it made his eyes burn," KMOV reports of its staffer.
The channel was not, however, able to track down concrete details on the source of the smell, but Donald Hood, Bridgeton's city administrator, tells Daily RFT this morning that questions should be directed to a waste management company that operates landfills within city limits. Which means that, yeah, it's probably local landfills causing the allegedly intolerable smell. But KMOV also speculates about another possibility.
Reached this morning, Hood tells us that we should call an entity called Republic Waste Management, which would be handling this issue.
He says that company contracts with different municipalities and just so happens to have landfills that fall within the Bridgetown city limits. Republic would have the "control of the source of the odor," he says, declining to comment further.
We've reached out and left messages locally and with the corporate offices for the company, officially called Republic Services, and we'll update if we hear back. See January 25 update above.
In the meantime, courtesy of KMOV, here are some descriptions of how awful the smell is:
"I got out of the car and I did not know what hit me. It just stunk horrible," said resident Maria Loness, "I didn't know what it was. And then my kids had just gotten dropped off and they thought it was a dead animal somewhere."
"As soon as you get off the highway you smell it pretty much," said Jon Crawford. "It's unbearable to come outside sometimes."
Continue for the full news report from KMOV.
The station says that the stench is so putrid that some residents are covering their faces when they go outside and others report smelling it inside their own homes. Apparently, some St. Ann residents can smell it, too.
The channel says that the source of the problem could be two landfills in the city. But, the report notes, this actually isn't the first time a strange smell has bothered local residents. In October 2012, the Pattonville fire district reportedly said that a decomposing underground was making a stink and creating heat. They worried at the time that it could reach radioactive waste buried nearby.
City leaders, KMOV says, have not commented on whether the odors then and now are connected.
Here's the channel's full report.
More from our News archive: "St. Louis Fails Transparency Review: MoPIRG Criticizes City for Lack of Accountability"
Support Local Journalism.
Join the Riverfront Times Press Club
Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.
Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.
Join the Riverfront Times Club for as little as $5 a month.