by Sam Levin
Last month, we reported on the really awful smell in Bridgeton, Missouri that was so bad, residents said the terrible stench had invaded their homes and was causing their eyes to burn. Soon after the media attention, the company behind the landfill said it was "very sorry" and that it would work to make Bridgeton less smelly.
That company, Republic Services, is now spreading the word about a Missouri Department of Natural Resources air quality report that says the odors "pose no health threat to area residents."
But does it still smell bad?
Last week, Republic Services sent out a statement saying that this Natural Resources Department air quality report showed that the residents near the Bridgeton Sanitary Landfill were not facing health risks.
"We are pleased that the testing could provide such assurance to our neighbors. We will continue to work with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources to ensure that testing and monitoring are continued as needed," part of the statement said.
The company, however, is aware that, health concerns aside, the really putrid smell remains a source of displeasure locally -- and it will for some time, they say.
The statement continued: "We recognize that while the air quality remains safe, the odor is unpleasant and we remain fully committed to our efforts to improve our landfill and bring the odors under control."
So what exactly did the Dept. of Natural Resources find?
"A review of the air quality data found that gas concentrations did not exceed a level of concern for public health," says the department's air monitoring results report on the Bridgeton Sanitary Landfill.
The department employed "air monitoring equipment" to assess the conditions at six locations in the vicinity of the landfill. The equipment can detect whether there are volatile organic compounds -- like hydrogen sulfide, carbon monoxide and other gases. Based on the department's latest report, it would appear that officials have taken samples and studied various possible health hazards and in all cases determined that the chemicals don't reach levels that pose health risks, based on government standards.
To address ongoing smelliness, Republic Services says it is upgrading its landfill gas management systems and adding equipment to capture additional gas and contain orders. The company notes that it has invested more than $10 million in "state-of-the-art technology."
Republic Services is currently installing forty new gas collection wells, which will take six to eight weeks -- during which time, odors at the landfill may get worse. This is, however, "an important step toward the long-term solution," the company says.
Continue for documents from the Department of Natural Resources and Republic Services on the state of the smell in Bridgeton.
The studies are the result of an order issued by the Department of Natural Resources to Republic Services regarding the collection of air quality data at the landfill. The company, the order states, is required to pay for the costs associated with data collection -- and to not interfere. That full order is on view below.
Here's the full statement from Republic Services, which now appears to have a website dedicated to this landfill:
Republic has not yet seen the air quality report from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, but understands that the results showed that the odors at Bridgeton Sanitary Landfill pose no health threat to area residents. We are pleased that the testing could provide such assurance to our neighbors. We will continue to work with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources to ensure that testing and monitoring are continued as needed.
We recognize that while the air quality remains safe, the odor is unpleasant and we remain fully committed to our efforts to improve our landfill and bring the odors under control.
View the Missouri Department of Natural Resources' Feb. 2 air monitoring results.
Here's the order from the Department of Natural Resources.
And here's a helpful FAQ from Republic Services that the company has posted on its website.