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BRIDGETON, Mo. (KSDK) - Repair work wrapped up Wednesday afternoon on a damaged gas-extraction system at the troubled Bridgeton Landfill.

Monday's sub-zero temperatures caused parts of the system to freeze and that led to some gas leaks as crews made repairs.

The fire burning beneath the surface of the landfill is what's causing the buildup of smelly gases. Once that gas is extracted, flare towers are supposed to burn it off. But on Monday, three of those flares stopped working.

Landfill spokesman Richard Callow says the extraction system slowed down, but "Small amounts of gas continued to move through the flare towers. Sumps also had to be opened for repairs, which let some gas escape."

On Wednesday the smell was especially bad in areas near Pattonville High School and the Pattonville Fire Protection District headquarters.

"On a scale of one to 10, it's a 10. It's over-the-top bad. It gets inside the school and the gym and it's hard to breathe sometimes," said high school senior Kaely Fitterling.

"Some of our national partners say right now this is on their radar as one of the most important incidents in the country at this point. So we need to take this serious(ly)," said Pattonville Fire Chief Loehrer.

Air monitoring by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources showed high levels of sulphur dioxide for several hours on January 2, 3, 4 and 5 on the southwest side of the landfill. But the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services insists those levels weren't harmful to humans.

The results of the most recent round or air sampling likely won't be available for two weeks.

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