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Meetings on possible coal ash landfills at Rush Island, Meramec

(via Google Maps)

Updated at 3:15 p.m. on Aug. 8, 2012:

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources will hold another public awareness session Aug. 14. This one will focus on the permitting process for a proposed coal ash landfill at Ameren's Meramec power plant near Arnold, Mo.

The proposed landfill site is located at 8200 Fine Road, approximately 3.6 miles southeast of the intersection of Interstate 55 and Route 141. Ameren is preparing a detailed site investigation work plan. The session is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at Rogers Elementary School, 7700 Fine Road in St. Louis.

Representatives of MDNR and Ameren will be available to answer questions.

Original story posted 5:53 p.m. Aug. 7, 2012:

The St. Louis-based utility company Ameren is proposing to build a coal ash landfill at its Rush Island power plant in Jefferson County, about 10 miles southeast of Festus.

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources is holdinga public awareness session tonight to describe the permitting process for the landfill.

View Proposed Ameren coal ash landfill site in a larger map

Ameren's director of power operations services, Bob Meiners, says the company is proposing to close and cap Rush Island's existing 100-acre coal ash pond — which is running out of room — and build the new landfill on top of it.

"Right now, we're starting a detailed site investigation and that will take the remainder of this year, and next year,” Meiners said. “And if we're issued a construction permit, then we expect to start construction around mid-year 2015."

Meiners says if the Rush Island plan is approved, construction of the new coal ash landfill could be completed by mid-2016.

This is the second new coal ash landfill that Ameren has proposed to build in Missouri.

The first, in Labadie, has been met with opposition by some Franklin County residents. Last November, area residents sued the county to try to block construction of the landfill.

Meiners says the proposed Labadie landfill was designed to also store coal ash from Rush Island.

"Originally, the landfill at Labadie was — the concept was is that it would be a regional landfill,” Meiners said. “But the ordinance does not allow that. So we have to provide storage for Rush Island independent of that.”

Ameren is proposing to build a third, smaller landfillat its Meramec plant near Arnold.

Tonight's Rush Island information session starts at 6:30 in Festus City Hall.

Follow Véronique LaCapra on Twitter: @KWMUScience