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Proposed coal waste landfill raises concerns in Franklin Co. community

By Maria Altman, St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis – A proposed coal combustion waste landfill in Franklin County is raising concerns, partly because of a major coal ash spill last year in Tennessee.

AmerenUE wants to build the 400-acre landfill near its Labadie power plant, but a group of residents is raising concerns about putting the facility in a flood plain.

They point to the breach of a coal ash landfill in Kingston, Tenn. in December that fouled water supplies there. However Ameren spokesman Tim Fox said that facility had earthen walls with waste stacked next to them.

Fox said the Ameren landfill would not have waste up against its walls, and would be lined with a material impermeable to water.

"All of our facilities are engineered and monitored very closely," Fox said. "The Kingston facility is really very different than anything Ameren has on its property."

A group of local residents has raised concernsand recently formed the Labadie Environmental Organization. President Ginger Gambaro said the landfill would be susceptible to flooding from the Missouri River.

"We know what happens down there in the springtime when we get floods, and once we found out what the constituents are in coal ash, we got a little alarmed."

Ameren hopes to begin construction on the landfill in 2012.

The utility is holding an open house tonight (Monday, November 16) at 6 p.m. at Labadie Elementary School.