June 15, 2013 5:45 pm  • 

BRIDGETON • The legal team working with environmental activist Erin Brockovich vowed quick action on behalf of north St. Louis County residents concerned about exposure to gases being emitted from a subsurface fire at the Bridgeton Landfill and the proximity to tons of radioactive waste.

Los Angeles attorney Thomas Girardi and Robert Bowcock, Brockovich’s chief environmental investigator, delivered the message to about 150 people Saturday morning at the International Union of Operating Engineers Union Hall 513 in Bridgeton.

“I’d like to be in a position within 60 days to have a lawsuit,” said Girardi, the attorney who represented the town of Hinkley, Calif., in the water contamination case at the center of the 2000 movie “Erin Brockovich.”

Bowcock said Brockovich receives about 2,500 requests a week from people asking for her help. They chose to become involved in this case following dozens of requests in recent weeks from those who live and work near the Bridgeton and West Lake landfills.

A fire has burned deep within the 52-acre landfill since December 2010. Heat and subsidence from the underground fire began to intensify last year, triggering a stench that prompted a surge of complaints from people who live and work nearby.

The fire also refocused attention on tons of radioactive material present at the adjacent West Lake Landfill, a federal Superfund site. The Environmental Protection Agency has proposed capping the site with earthen material. But many neighbors and environmental activists want the waste moved to a licensed disposal facility.


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