- Associated Press - Thursday, January 8, 2015

BRIDGETON, Mo. (AP) - A St. Louis County landfill owner embroiled in a long-running legal battle with state and federal regulators says an underground fire doesn’t pose an imminent threat to nearby radioactive waste.

Bridgeton Landfill owner Republic Services Inc. and the Missouri Attorney General’s Office struck a deal in June intended to better control underground smoldering while reducing a strong odor that has seeped into suburban neighborhoods near Lambert-St. Louis International Airport.

On Wednesday, Attorney General Chris Koster filed a request in St. Louis County Circuit Court for a temporary restraining order to compel the company to install additional temperature monitoring equipment and to further analyze landfill samples in response to what a consultant for the Missouri Department of Natural Resources says is recent movement of the underground fire from the landfill’s southern side to its northern edge.

The northern edge abuts the West Lake Landfill, where waste from nuclear weapons production was illegally dumped 40 years ago. In late November, the federal Environmental Protection Agency’s regional office told a Washington, D.C.-based environmental watchdog group that the smoldering fire didn’t appear to be encroaching on the adjacent landfill.

Republic Services responded Thursday with a statement calling the landfill “safe and stabilized,” referencing the June agreement.

“Republic is fully committed to the safety of its employees and neighbors, and to the aggressive management of the subsurface reaction. Those commitments are spelled out explicitly in a binding legal agreement with the state and we have repeatedly gone above and beyond those commitments,” landfill spokesman Russ Knocke said. He called the two sites “among the most studied and closely monitored landfills in the country.”

The state and Republic Services are scheduled to meet in court Friday.

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