News Release 141

Bridgeton Landfill notifies neighbors of methane issues

Volume 38-141 (For Immediate Release)
Contact: Larry Archer

JEFFERSON CITY, MO, MARCH 22, 2010 – Republic Services, Inc. has notified property owners near the Bridgeton Sanitary Landfill in St. Louis County of the possibility of methane gas migration in the area, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources announced today.

Republic Services, Inc., which oversees the closed Bridgeton Sanitary Landfill located at 13570 Saint Charles Rock Road in Bridgeton, has provided notification letters to property owners within 1,000 feet of monitoring wells exhibiting methane levels above regulatory limits.

Republic had previously notified eight adjacent property owners, but at the request of the department, expanded their notification area as an additional precautionary measure.  Notification letters were sent to an additional 13 neighboring property owners. 

A 2006 settlement agreement between previous owners of the Bridgeton Sanitary Landfill and the Department of Natural Resources required landfill officials to notify adjacent property owners of the potential for methane migration, check properties for the presence of methane and offer to install methane alarms.

The department also required landfill owners to develop an emergency gas management plan and distribute it to residents occupying structures adjacent to the landfill.  No methane gas has been detected in the monitored structures.  Republic continues to maintain contact with adjacent property owners, check methane alarms and replace the batteries semi-annually.  Republic is offering to perform the same services to those in the expanded area.

The Department of Natural Resources has been working with the landfill on methane issues since 1997.  The landfill covers approximately 52-acres and stopped accepting waste in 2004.  In January 2010, the department issued a notice of violation to Republic as a result of methane levels in excess of regulatory limits at several monitoring wells around the facility.  The department continues to work with Republic as it installs new extraction wells, upgrades and replaces portions of the landfill gas collection system and takes steps to stop the migration and return to compliance.

Methane is a byproduct of the decomposition of waste and is explosive at concentrations between 5 and 15 percent.  To protect public health and safety, the regulatory limit for methane found in the soil at a landfill property boundary is 2.5 percent, by volume.  Methane is an odorless, colorless gas, but when generated from waste decomposition in a landfill it is often associated with other gases, such as hydrogen sulfide, which gives the gas an odor similar to natural gas.

The Department of Natural Resources encourages nearby property owners to be aware of the potential for methane migration in the area and call 911 if they smell a natural gas like odor.  

For additional information, contact the Department of Natural Resources’ Solid Waste Management Program at 800-361-4827 or 573-751-5401.