By Grant Bissell
BRIDGETON, Mo. (KSDK) - The Missouri Coalition for the Environment is demanding more people be offered relocation assistance by the owners of a troubled St. Louis County landfill. The environmental group's leaders say the stench from the landfill is causing people near the landfill to get sick and it' possible the fumes could be an even bigger health problem.
The coalition compiled a log of complaints from residents living close to the landfill and applied those locations to a map. The majority of the complaints came from outside the one mile radius where Republic Services has agreed to temporarily relocate people. The coalition says a three mile radius is more appropriate and would encompass almost all the areas where they've received complaints.
Residents say they also want more transparency and accountability when it comes to the talks of how to fix the smell.
Attorney General Chris Koster is suing Republic Services over the problems with the landfill. But people who live close by feel like they're being kept in the dark about what's really going on with the smell and the talks between the Attorney General's office and Republic Services.
Residents are complaining of headaches and nausea and they're concerned the underground smoldering that's causing the stench may actually be more of a health concern.
"We live here," said Dawn Chapman. "We should be able to call these agencies and say, 'Hey what is that fire doing this week? What am I breathing in? It smelled awful last night, my daughter was coughing. What was in the air?' We should be able to ask nicely. Instead we're having to sunshine request these documents and wait two weeks."
Republic Services spokesman Richard Callow told NewsChannel 5 the company is doing all it can to control the odor and keep the community updated on the work and ongoing monitoring.
Representatives from Republic Services and the Attorney General's office met behind closed doors with St. Louis County judge Michael Jameson Monday. Jameson said he'd have to think about a proposal that was presented and he expects to make some kind of decision by Tuesday morning. A news conference is expected shortly after that.
Judge Jameson did say his will not bet a final decision in this case and he's still open to hearing from people who are affected by the smell.