Police arrest protesters outside West Lake Landfill

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BRIDGETON, MO (KTVI) - Police arrested 10 protesters Friday morning for blocking two entrances to the West Lake Landfill.

The demonstration started early Friday morning. About six people began the protest at the entrances to the West Lake and Bridgeton Landfills along St. Charles Rock Road., another four or so at an entrance just up the road, chaining themselves to trash cans filled with concrete. The groups Earth Defense Coalition and Soulfire Caravan organized Friday's protest.

The protesters said they're concerned about an underground fire burning at Bridgeton Landfill and its proximity to radioactive waste buried at neighboring West Lake Landfill.

A spokesperson for Republic Services, which owns both landfills, described the burning as a "smoldering event" and not a fire. The spokesperson said the smoldering was under control and not a risk to the public.

Protesters said they want a full removal of the waste and additional testing done in this area. They also want a plot of homes to receive buyouts where testing has been done and contamination found.

"The landfill is dangerously close to the radioactive waste that's also being held here on site. We want to attention nothing is being done about the radioactive waste even though Bridgeton has cried for it. Citizens are crying and nothing being done. We don’t feel like we are being heard,” Maria Fonseca, a protester.

The protest was peaceful, with police providing gloves and blankets for the activists. Eventually, the protesters were advised by police that they were trespassing and would be arrested if they failed to leave.

All 10 individuals refused to leave and were placed under arrest. The suspects refused to unhook themselves from the devices and with the assistance of St. Louis County, each device was dismantled. As each suspect was removed from the device they were taken into custody. The protesters will be charged with trespassing, resisting arrest, and property damage.