South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

My Call: Solid-waste transfer station doesn’t belong in Oakville

Bill Milligan

After the Missouri Department of Natural Resources’ July 14 hearing at Oakville Senior High School, two things seem apparent.

First, applicants for solid-waste transfer station permits seem willing to say and do anything to get their way. Second, none of these waste transfer facilities bother to comply with DNR regulations despite the department’s efforts to enforce the rules.

As I sat listening to a Fred Weber consultant attempt to refute questions and comments made by the public at a June 19 St. Louis County Department of Health hearing in the same gymnasium, an article I wrote last Dec. 26 came under fire. The article was about a visit to a city-owned waste transfer station in St. Robert.

On July 15 the guy who questioned the accuracy of my article called twice to apologize.

I believe that Fred Weber officials selected the St. Robert solid waste transfer station for the St. Louis County Planning Commission to tour last December because it is among the best such facilities in the state.

Why else drive to Fort Leonard Wood when we could have gone to one in Kimmswick?

But during our tour, the facility’s supervisor told this newspaper that it is not uncommon for the waste from one or two garbage trucks to remain in the facility overnight. His crews don’t always hose down the tipping floor as required. He also said, “We get rats and skunks.”

DNR officials say there are no problems at the St. Robert site.

In a June 27 letter, St. Robert City Attorney Tyce Smith, who apparently spends a lot of time at the facility, wrote that the station does not have a rat problem. “As far as I know, there has only been one incident where two rats were brought in inside a couch.”

I remember the stench of garbage and diesel fuel even though it was December. The floor was greasy underfoot and I didn’t want to sit down or touch anything. How could anyone conceive of putting something like this so close to 22 subdivisions, a church and a junior college?

If the DNR can’t uncover daily infractions of the waste management code at the best facility in the state, what does that say about the rest of the solid-waste transfer industry?

One thing it says loud and clear — that industry doesn’t belong in the middle of a population of more than 40,000 people until the DNR can do better than pay lip service to the regulations it is supposed to enforce.

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