Bridgeton Landfill Surface Fire Investigation Continues

Landfill owners widen lawsuit on who pays for West Lake Landfill cleanup

Kevin Killeen
November 08, 2018 - 4:56 pm

West Lake Landfill Facebook page

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ST. LOUIS--(KMOX)--Investigators are trying to learn what sparked last Friday's surface fire at the Bridgeton Landfill. 

Pattonville Assistant Fire Chief Matt LaVanchy says it was a gas-fed fire--landfill gas from decomposing garbage--that burned for more than two hours on the surface before it was put out.

LaVanchy says the blaze may have been sparked below the surface because the pipes pumping gas from the landfill were burned from the inside out.

The Bridgeton Landfill is honeycombed with underground hot spots, subsurface fires smoldering for years, fueled by the decomposition of garbage.

Pattonville Assistant Fire Chief Matt LaVanchy
(Kevin Killeen, KMOX)
Friday's fire was far removed from the nuclear material buried in the West Lake landfill. LaVanchy believes the nearest underground fire to the nuclear waste is about 650 feet away, an estimate the landfill agrees with.

The landfill says last week's surface fire was about 1,000-feet away from any known radioactive material. 

The investigation continues.

Meanwhile, the landfill owner is widening its lawsuit to seek other responsible parties to share in the $205 million cleanup of the West Lake Landfill ordered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Earlier the landfill filed suit to have Mallincrodt share in the cleanup cost.

New court filings seek to require Citigroup to share documents related to one of its subsidiaries possibly playing a role in the original contamination of the site.

The landfill owners released a statement:

“Today, Bridgeton Landfill, LLC, took a further step toward bringing together all the companies involved with the Manhattan Project residues that led to the contamination of West Lake Landfill in Bridgeton, Missouri.  Federal records clearly show that "Commercial Discount Corporation" originally owned and arranged for the disposal of hazardous substances that ended up in West Lake Landfill in 1973. We have asked the judge to require Citigroup Inc to produce the records that will identify the correct subsidiary of Citigroup that now holds the assets and liabilities of Commercial Discount Corporation.  We believe that Citigroup needs to be at the table for the mediation of liability, given their predecessor’s role in handling the radioactive material and arranging for its disposal.”     

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