Supplies details about waste asphalt piles

To the editor:

I wanted to take the opportunity to ex-press my opinion and supply some details regarding the waste asphalt that is currently sitting on the Fred Weber South Quarry property.

A little research will find that the waste asphalt piles run afoul of numerous county, state and federal laws. This material is piled in the Meramec River flood plain on the banks of Mattese Creek.

All three levels of government have prohibitions against filling in the flood plain without a certified engineering study and state and federal permits. Under no circumstances do they permit asphalt mil-lings to be used as fill material, and Fred Weber Inc. has neither permit anyway.

Mr. Gary Earls, director of the St. Louis County Department of Public Works wrote in his notice of violation, “These parcels are zoned Non-Urban and Flood Plain Non-Urban. The storage of this asphalt material is a violation of not only St. Louis County’s zoning regulations but also of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s flood plain regulations.”

Fred Weber Inc. has admitted in court that the asphalt material is considered waste and should be disposed of in a licensed landfill: “The use of RAP (reclaimed as-phalt pavement) as a part of the processing of quarried stone also increases the efficiency of processing the mined stone, conserves precious natural stone resources and reduces the burden placed on local landfills by diverting to the South Quar-ry/Asphalt Plant site for recycling the de-molished asphalt products which would otherwise have to be sent to landfills.”

The Missouri Department of Transpo-rtation mandates to contractors that “waste (is) to de disposed of in accordance with the Missouri Solid Waste Management Law and implementing regulations, 10 CSR 80.”

The county requires permits for the construction and operation of waste processing or recycling facilities. Fred Weber Inc. has neither. The county health department inspector noted in 2002 that Weber did not have a permit for recycling asphalt.

By not disposing of this material in a licensed landfill, Fred Weber Inc. has avoided paying $275,000 in state tipping fees and more than $500,000 in county fees. Yet, St. Louis County is diligent in reassessing your property and mine every other year.

Your article mentioned the health concerns of Oakville residents. The residents’ concerns go beyond the existence of the RAP pile. The quarry and asphalt plant generate great amounts of fugitive dust that covers everything in the surrounding neighborhood. The odors from the asphalt plant burn your eyes and throat and at times are so bad that people have evacuated their homes.

The health survey conducted by Metro-politan Congregations United is on file with the county Department of Planning.

While not “scientific.” it appears to be statistically accurate and suggests that people living downwind from the facility may be suffering not only from significantly more respiratory problems — such as asthma — but also more cancer, more high blood pressure and more heart disease than Oakville residents as a whole. Young children are seriously ill. Some have cancer.

Yet no one seems to care. At this point, no one can point at the Weber property and say this is the source of your health problems because no one will commit the resources to doing the proper environmental tests.

Besides these issues, the South Quarry has not filed and recorded an operational plan, a restoration plan or the reclamation bonds as required by the CUP — conditional use permit — it was issued in 1970. Yet, certain people seem ready and willing to disregard all of this and change the zoning ordinances to permit this “monument” to remain in Oakville.

The county Planning Commission is holding its hearing on this issue at 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 26, at the St. Louis County Government Center in Clayton. The state Supreme Court has ruled that the First Amendment is valid even in unincorporated St. Louis County — see State ex rel. Diehl v. Kintz.

Come and add your voice to all the others who want equal protection under the law.

Tom Diehl