While many people attended a public hearing to oppose a coal ash landfill last week, public comments on the project still can be submitted in written form until May 22 at 5 p.m.

Ameren Missouri wants to build a coal ash landfill adjacent to its Labadie Energy Center.

The landfill would be located near the Missouri River and store ash that is the byproduct of burning coal to generate electricity.

Once the public comment period ends, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources must decide whether to issue the construction permit for the coal ash landfill.

Under state statute, DNR must approve or deny the construction permit within 12 months of the application being submitted.

Ameren Missouri’s application for the construction was deemed complete Jan. 3, 2014, according to DNR spokeswoman Gena Terlizzi.

But since Jan. 3, 2015, falls on a Saturday DNR’s deadline to make a decision on Ameren’s application is Jan. 5.

Ameren would like to start construction on the landfill this summer, said Warren Wood, Ameren’s vice president of legislative and regulatory affairs.

At last week’s hearing, residents expressed concerns about groundwater contamination and said it is wrong to store coal ash in a floodplain.

But Ameren officials vow that the landfill would be safe and store coal in a dry, concrete-like state.

Written comments can be mailed to Missouri Department of Natural Resources, Solid Waste Management Program, P.O. Box 176, Jefferson City, MO 65102-0176 or by fax to 573-526-3902.