By Elizabeth Matthews
BRIDGETON, Mo. (KSDK) - A new twist in the controversy surrounding a smelly landfill in Bridgeton. The state of Missouri is now warning of a possible public health risk, but the company that owns it still claims it's safe.
Republic Services says so far in the testing that's occurred they've seen no health risk in the odor, but now the Missouri Department of Natural Resources is saying if the future if this problem continues there could be a health issue.
"All the testing that we've done and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources has done has shown that there is no hazard to the community," said Republic services' environmental specialist Bryan Sehie.
He and his company say so far the testing on the odor coming from the landfill is not harmful to the surrounding residents.
"Republic Services sent out a flyer to residents saying that everything is fine well the DNR just weeks later is saying that there could be a potential health risk," said Ed Smith with the Missouri Coalition for the Environment.
Smith is referring to an update on the Bridgeton landfill on the DNR's website. In part it reads "...if emissions from the subsurface smoldering event are not controlled or conditions intensify further, these emissions could potentially pose a risk to public health."
"I am not sure what they are basing that on exactly, the EPA has agreed that the odors are not a concern to the community obviously the DNR continues to monitor and we will report anything that we do believe is a concern to the community," said Sehie.
Republic Services and the DNR are working together in finding a remedy to the smelly issue and making sure that the odor is not harmful.
Bob Nowlin is now organizing a community advisory group that will be able to spread the word better from both Republic Services and the DNR.
"In order for people to be satisfied in the area, then we are going to have to get the information out from both sides otherwise people are only hearing one side of it," said Nowlin.
Meanwhile a group of residents have come together and are now suing Republic over damages stemming from the putrid smell caused by a subsurface smoldering event or underground fire in the landfill.