BRIDGETON, Mo. (KMOX) – A new infrared video of the burning Bridgeton landfill raises doubts about claims by the landfill owner that the underground fire is “under control.”
“There are heat signatures in the north quarry that were not there before,” said Pattonville Fire Protection District Assistant Chief Matt LaVanchy. “It is not under control. You shouldn’t have hot spots in the north quarry. You shouldn’t have leachate pouring out.”
LaVanchy said he requested the flyover video, the first of its kind in six months, after changes in the paper data suggested the ground temperatures are heating up.
“We need more information,” he said. “We see things in the video that have not been there before.”
The FLIR thermal imaging video shows hot spots as dark and cool spots as light.
In the most vivid portion of the footage (Seen at mark 2:59), the helicopter flies over a capped mound of the landfill that appears completely dark with ribbons of dark, oozing leachate running down a hillside toward a complex of buildings where a truck is seen leaving:
“The leachate doesn’t bother me as much as the north quarry hot spots,” LaVanachy said. “It doesn’t mean that the fire is in the north quarry, but at least the heat front is. It appears to be moving north toward the nuclear material.”
Making sure the underground fire never reaches the nuclear material buried in the adjacent West Lake Landfill has been the aim of a lawsuit filed by Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster.
LaVanchy said he forwarded a copy of the video to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, which was to foward it to Koster.
A neighborhood mom’s group spokesman, Dawn Chapman, has also seen the video.
“There is no such thing as having these landfill fires 100 percent under control,” Chapman said, “This is a fire and the best they can do is babysit it.”
Chapman is calling for more aggressive action to put out the fire.
“When you have a fire and it’s under control, you put it out,” Chapman said, “Otherwise, you’re standing back and watching it do what it’s going to do. And that’s what you see on this video.”
Republic Services’ spokesman Richard Callow released the following statement:
“This is another false alarm. The video does not support any claim of North Quarry hotspots.
There are no changes in the quarry data. The site, and particularly the North Quarry, remain in a controlled state.
Chief Lavanchy did not raise any concerns to the site operators when he gave the video to them last week.
The activity that concerns Ms Chapman in the southeast corner of the site is the work on the sump system we announced the previous weekend.”
Chapman responded that the activity she is concerned about is also in the north quarry at 1:51 in the video.
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