June 13 - Bridgeton Landfill Issues Still Unresolved

Discussion continues over whether the underground fire at the Bridgeton Landfill near St. Louis, Missouri could reach a nearby radioactive waste site, according to a recent story in Waste & Recycling News. That fire has been burning for over two years, causing concern amongst residents, who are still being impacted by odors emanating from the site.

Risks posed by landfills, even years after they are closed, should be addressed early in the planning stages and proper financial assurances need to be made to address catastrophic events.

Landfill operators in this state aren’t asked to set aside funds to deal with the kinds of problems that are happening at the Bridgeton Landfill. In addition to increasing liability risks for the state and local governments, it artificially lowers the cost of landfilling and creates disincentives for recycling and composting.

AB 2296, which was signed into law by Governor Schwarzenegger in 2006, was designed as a first step in dealing with the long-term costs related to landfills. It requires financial assurances for routine maintenance but does not address equipment replacement or clean-up of catastrophic events. It is time for California to take the next step in addressing responsibility and accountability associated with landfills.

Photo Credit: KMOX.Killeen