Bridgeton residents unhappy with settlement

ST. LOUIS (KSDK) - Time is running out for people living near a troubled landfill in St. Louis County.

The Bridgeton landfill has been releasing strong odors for years, and the landfill's owners have offered a settlement to people who live nearby.

But their decision to accept or opt-out is due by Friday. And many say the settlement just isn't fair.

"It's a joke. The settlement's a joke," Spanish Village resident Bruce Neuman said.

Neuman lives in the Spanish Village neighborhood. He's part of a group that refuses to accept Republic Services' settlement offer of roughly $35,000 per home.

After attorney's fees and taxes, the group estimates they'll actually only get between $18,000 and $23,000 per home.

To Spanish Village resident Chuck Bell, that number seems low.

"We've loved our neighborhood in the past and we still love our neighborhood except for what's going on a stone's throw away," he said. "We're very concerned with the safety, health and quality of our lives here. We don't know what we're going to wake up to in the morning."

More than 120 people have signed a petition asking for a buyout. They say their property values have dropped because of this landfill, and they'll be stuck here without more help.

"There's no way you can sell your house here. There's no way," Neuman said. "Nobody would buy a home out here. They'd have to be crazy."

And there's concern that the settlement has grown beyond its original intent.

"There's a lot more to the settlement than just nuisance and odor," Bell said. "We are giving up our future air quality rights."

These residents know a buyout isn't likely. But they say they won't give up.

"We're hoping for some help. We don't know where it's going to come from," Bell said.

"We keep fighting. We keep fighting," Neuman said.

Landfill spokesman Richard Callow sent NewsChannel 5 this statement:

"The settlement between Bridgeton Landfill and the plaintiff class representatives and counsel has been preliminarily approved by the Court as fair, reasonable, and adequate. We are the first to acknowledge that the recent odors were a source of considerable public frustration, and we believe the settlement provides a very fair level of compensation."


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