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Mo. DNR: The Bridgeton Landfill Fire Is Moving And We Want More Temperature Monitors To Track It

Véronique LaCapra, St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 5:40 p.m. to add Missouri Coalition for the Environment letter and comment from Republic Services.

The fire within the Bridgeton Landfill is still smoldering and now the Missouri Department of Natural Resources is ordering the company which operates the landfill to install additional temperature monitors to track the fire.

DNR's Solid Waste Management program director Chris Nagel wrote a letter to the landfill's operator, Republic Services Inc., on Tuesday.

DNR is concerned not only with the fire within the landfill and the noxious smell it's producing, but also how close the fire is getting to nuclear waste which is buried nearby.

In the letter, Nagel states that the fire "...continues to progress toward and potentially impact the first row of gas interceptor wells and other landfill infrastructure."

Recent data has shownsome temperature readings within the landfill above 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything over 200 degrees Fahrenheit is considered a range "not normally encountered."

A spokesperson for Bridgeton Landfill, LLC, provided the following statement:

"As part of our ongoing cooperative contingency plan discussions, we originally suggested to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources that we install three additional temperature monitoring probes. We are prepared to move forward now that we have MDNR’s approval and plan on installing these in the near future."

The Missouri Coalition for the Environment today sent a letter to MDNR director Sarah Pauley, criticizing Republic Services' latest plans for addressing the smoldering subsurface fire at the Bridgeton Landfill:

"Republic Services’ amended contingency plan submitted on August 13, 2013, does not satisfy the needs of impacted communities to be protected from the subsurface landfill fire nor does it address the risks of a second subsurface landfill fire in the North Quarry, therefore, Republic Services must be removed from the decision making process regarding contingency actions to protect local communities."

You can see Republic Services' complete plans here (Part 1) and here (Part 2).

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources could not be reached for comment.

Follow Kelsey Proud on Twitter: @KelseyProud

Follow Véronique LaCapra on Twitter@KWMUScience