Residents near stinky landfill offered hotel stay

Claudine Zap

Residents unlucky enough to live near a foul-smelling landfill near Bridgeton, Mo., recently got some bad news and better news.

The bad: The landfill stench is likely to get worse as officials go to work to fix the problem.

The sort of good news: The owners of Bridgeton Sanitary Landfill in Missouri have offered residents within a one-mile radius of the waste site a temporary reprieve by moving them to hotels for the next month.

According to a story in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “270 households in the Spanish Village subdivision, Terrisan Reste mobile home community and some residents of Carrollton Village condominiums” qualify for the relocation to extended-stay hotels three miles away, which also accept pets.

Those preferring to move in with family or friends will receive $125 a week.

The landfill, about 52 acres that goes 240 feet below ground, took in waste from 1985 to 2004.

But in 2010, landfill started to stink.

The website for the Missouri Department of Natural Resources describes what happened starting on Dec. 10, 2010, as a “subsurface smoldering event.”

Translation: The trash is burning.

Complaints started coming in from residents, nearby workers, even the local hospital, where people caught a whiff of the foul odor in the operating room.

By early spring 2012, the department noted that the “an increase in odors was noticed with some odor complaints being filed by nearby residents and businesses.”

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster has sued Republic Services on eight charges of violating state environmental laws, the Post-Dispatch reports.

Meanwhile, residents have to decide what they will do in the short term. “We thought we had a nice little house in a nice little place,” resident Mike Dailey told the Post-Dispatch. “Three years ago it starts stinking like hell.”