Clayton, MO (PRWEB) March 27, 2013
The Simmons Firm, a national litigation firm known for handling complex toxic exposure cases with offices in Clayton, Mo., and Alton, Ill., filed suit March 19 on behalf of residents living near the Bridgeton Sanitary Landfill against Republic Services, Inc., Allied Services, LLC, and Bridgeton Landfill, LLC. The case is Marsha Buck et. al. v Republic Services, Inc., No. 13sl-cc00965 (21st Cir. Ct., St. Louis County, 2013). Residents allege damages stemming from a putrid smell caused by a subsurface-smoldering event or underground fire in the landfill. The underground event and the smell have been getting worse for the last year, residents alleged in the complaint.
For more than two years, since the subsurface smoldering event started, residents alleged via the complaint they have been exposed to this odor and other emissions so strong they have been unable go outside for periods of time and have suffered annoyance, discomfort and emotional distress, according to the complaint. In addition, the complaint also alleges, the noxious fumes have created an on-going nuisance by denying residents the ability to breathe clean air and have decreased property values in the surrounding area.
“The heart of this case is that innocent homeowners are being deprived of clean, fresh air. They believe this awful smell is a sign of a deeper problem that needs to be addressed. Residents should be able to live in their homes without concern that the noxious odors they are breathing might be harmful to their health,” said Simmons Firm Shareholder Ted Gianaris, who leads the firm’s efforts on behalf of residents.
The fugitive emissions are attributed to a smoldering event beneath the surface of the landfill and efforts to contain the smoldering event or extinguish the fire may make the smells worse, according to the complaint. Residents have compared the odors to that of rotten eggs and noted the odor is often present inside their homes in various media reports published by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (1), KMOV Channel 4 (2) and KSDK Channel 5 (3).
According to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources’ Bridgeton Sanitary Landfill Facility Information (4) web site, the landfill reported it began experiencing elevated temperatures in some of its gas extraction wells a few years ago. Since that time, testing overseen by the Missouri DNR has confirmed the presence of a subsurface smoldering event or an underground fire, causing rapid waste settlement, an increase in odors, fugitive emissions and additional gas wells experiencing higher temperatures.
Some landfill experts consider these events a fire while others do not, Gianaris said.
“No matter what you call it, residents believe something very wrong is occurring deep in the waste mass. The below ground event is causing the waste to decompose faster than expected and is resulting in noxious smells and fugitive emissions,” he said.
In July 2012, the Missouri DNR’s Solid Waste Management Program issued the landfill a “Notice of Violation” for conditions associated with the subsurface smoldering event. The notice cited the company for violating state law that prohibits the storage or disposal of solid waste in any manner that creates a public nuisance or adversely affects public health.
The complaint also alleges the subsurface smoldering event is no more than 1,200 feet from radioactive waste in the nearby West Lake Landfill. In addition, the complaint notes no barrier is in place to prevent the spread of the subsurface smoldering event to the radioactive waste. If this were to occur, the complaint alleges a hazardous condition will be created.
For over two years, the defendants have repeatedly failed and refused to remedy the subsurface smoldering event in spite of the potential dangers posed and the daily nuisance to its neighbors, according to the complaint.
“The landfill has had years to address the fire, but has failed to put it out and is violating state regulations,” Gianaris said. “Area residents should be able to spend time in their homes, opening their windows and using their yards, without the worry the air they are breathing may contain fugitive emissions.”
The Bridgeton Sanitary Landfill is located at the intersection of Interstate 70 and 270 on St. Charles Rock Road in north St. Louis County. The landfill covers 52 acres and extends below the surface approximately 240 feet. The total waste thickness is 320 feet and is located in two areas known as the North and South Quarries. The landfill stopped accepting solid waste in 2005.
About Simmons Browder Gianaris Angelides & Barnerd LLC
The Simmons Firm, with offices in Clayton, Mo., and Alton, Ill., is a leading national law firm in complex litigation matters and has represented thousands of clients throughout the country on issues involving toxic exposure, consumer rights and public safety. The firm is dedicated to its clients and has pledged nearly $20 million to cancer research. Additionally, the firm focuses on intellectual property litigation, pharmaceutical injury litigation and contingent-fee business litigation. For more information, visit http://www.simmonsfirm.com.
1) “State seeks legal action against Bridgeton landfill owner.” By Lisa Brown, St. Louis Post-Dispatch. March 21, 2013. http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/state-seeks-legal-action-against-bridgeton-landfill-owner/article_05ef12a2-bdde-5d25-a487-a2a1acc29317.html
2) “Residents near Bridgeton landfills want answers after new safety concerns arise.” By KMOV staff, Channel 4 KMOV. March 15, 2013. http://www.kmov.com/news/local/Residents-near-Bridgeton-landfills-want-answers-after-new-safety-concerns-arise-198531441.html
3) “Bridgeton landfill fire raises environmental concerns.” By Brian Karmer. Associated Press via KSDK Channel 5 news. Jan. 29, 2013. http://www.ksdk.com/news/article/359614/3/County-landfill-fire-raises-air-quality-concerns
4) Bridgeton Sanitary Landfill Facility Information. Updated March 19, 2013. By the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. http://www.dnr.mo.gov/env/swmp/facilities/bridgetonsanitarylandfill-DNR.htm