ST. LOUIS COUNTY – There are new developments surrounding a pair of troubled landfills in St. Louis County.
A U.S. senator is taking a closer look at the radioactive West Lake Landfill, and the Pattonville Fire Protection District is taking a stand against the landfill's owners.
Last week Republic Services sent a letter to this fire district accusing assistant chief Matt LaVanchy of creating fear and panic with unprofessional comments and accusations about the Bridgeton and West Lake Landfills. That letter asked that LaVanchy be removed from his role as a liaison.
LaVanchy has spoken to NewsChannel 5 and other reporters on numerous occasions about his concerns over the landfills, and he's very active on a Facebook page run by citizens who are also concerned.
Despite Republic's objections to LaVanchy's comments, Pattonville's chief has decided to keep LaVanchy in his place. The decision to back the assistant chief is drawing kudos from people who live nearby.
"It brings a sense of ease to the community knowing we've got somebody there who knows what he's talking about, and he's there to fight for us, and help us get this resolved," said resident Traci Vette.
There's a weekly conference call that Republic Services and a number of other first responders and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources have been involved in over the last few months. Republic Services says they are no longer taking part in that conference call, but a spokesperson said in a statement that's not anything they're required to do. They will continue to communicate with the fire protection district and anyone else who needs information about this landfill.
Sen. Roy Blunt visited the West Lake Landfill Thursday to get a better understanding of the situation. For a long time there's been a call to get the situation into the hands of the Army Corps of Engineers.
"We need to come to a common conclusion here as to what's the best place to go and how to insist that that government entity deal with this in the best possible and the quickest possible way, and the safest possible way," said Sen. Blunt.
He spoke further about how he's working with other senators and congressmen in the area to figure out the best plan, but he wouldn't go so far as to commit to anything.