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Hulking Milam Landfill Nearing End of Its 40-Year Lifespan

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The Milam landfill rises high above traffic passing by I-55/70.  (KMOX/Brett Blume)

The Milam landfill rises high above traffic passing by I-55/70. (KMOX/Brett Blume)

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EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (KMOX) – Known by some as “Mount Trashmore”, the colossal 40-year-old Milam landfill across from the Gateway Motorsports Park is nearing the end of its life-span.

Drivers who pass by the mound everyday know there’s no denying that…well…it stinks, especially in the morning for some reason.

Lisa Disbrow is spokesperson for Waste Management, which operates the site. She says that is something they get complaints about and try to mitigate, “Everyday we cover the trash with dirty, that helps cover the odors and keep the odors down.”

That also means the mound gets ever-higher, along with taking in 3,000 tons of garbage per day.

Disbrow tells KMOX the landfill is getting a baby brother. Waste Management has been approved for an expansion, right next door. North Milam landfill will begin to take in trash next summer.

But they have to keep monitoring the giant mound of trash for the next three decades to make sure contents of the old landfill don’t leak into ground-water.

A report released this week by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency shows there is enough remaining space for trash that will accumulate over the next 23 years.

EPA interim director John Kim says the report provides helpful information to citizens, local governments and the state in regulating solid waste facilities.

He also stresses that that space fluctuates from year to year as areas within landfills are filled and new ones open.

Illinois has 45 landfills.

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