Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Bridgeton Landfill Odor Settlement Is Approved

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Bridgeton Landfill Odor Settlement Is Approved

Article excerpt

A $6.8 million class action settlement for residents who live closest to the smoldering Bridgeton Landfill is fair, reasonable and adequate, a federal judge has ruled.

About three-quarters of residents in the 400 homes closest to the landfill agreed to the settlement reached in April for enduring foul odors from an underground fire that started more than three years ago. Judge Thomas Mummert approved the settlement Friday in U.S. District Court to conclude a lawsuit filed against landfill owner Republic Services last year on behalf of six Bridgeton residents.

After attorneys' costs, the settlement equals $26,250 per household in the Spanish Village subdivision, $15,375 in the Terrisan Reste mobile home community and about $3,900 in the Carrollton Village condominiums, all in Bridgeton. The awards will go to 947 of 1,244 eligible residents who signed participation papers. Those who did not participate have until Friday to change their minds.

Anyone who accepts the settlement cannot file any further nuisance claims for property damage due to the landfill's odor.

"Hopefully the landfill is being properly remediated and the underground reaction is being contained and controlled, and there won't be any need for further litigation," said plaintiffs' attorney Ted Gianaris of the Simmons Law Firm in Alton.

Republic Services has spent more than $100 million on odor improvement projects, according to Russ Knocke, a company spokesman.

"Still, we are the first to acknowledge that odors have been a source of considerable concern and frustration for our neighbors, and we truly regret any inconvenience they have endured," Knocke said in a statement. "We also wish to extend our sincere appreciation to our neighbors for their continued understanding and patience while we do everything within our power to rectify a complex and unfortunate situation; one which we did not create."

There were 27 residents who filed objections to the settlement with the court. …

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