Ameren Labadie Plant

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources will conduct a public hearing April 8 on a coal ash landfill that is proposed to be built adjacent to Ameren’s Labadie power plant.

The public hearing will be on the draft solid waste disposal area construction permit.

The hearing will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. in the lower level of the Knights of Columbus Hall, 1121 Columbus Lane, Washington.

The proposed site at 226 Labadie Power Plant Road, is about 2.5 miles northeast of Labadie and immediately southeast of the Missouri River in northeast Franklin County.

The landfill site would be 813 acres, but the disposal area would only be approximately 166.5 acres, divided into four cells, a DNR news release states.

The proposed landfill has drawn opposition from the Labadie Environmental Organization, which says the project presents a risk to groundwater.

LEO President Patricia Schuba said her organization will be at the DNR public hearing to express its concerns,

Ameren has said its landfill would be safe with a liner, groundwater monitoring equipment and meet a host of regulations.

The proposed facility would be used for disposal of coal combustion byproducts such as fly ash, bottom ash, boiler slag and flue gas desulfurization wastes, according to DNR.

Ameren says it needs to build the landfill because coal ash storage ponds at the facility are becoming full.

The DNR’s Solid Waste Management Program reviews all applications submitted by cities, counties and private owners to ensure solid waste disposal areas are properly designed and constructed, the news release states. Other technical factors protecting Missouri’s environment are also examined, it adds.

More Approval Needed

In addition to the DNR hearing, the Missouri Public Service Commission is also set to hold formal hearings on the project in Jefferson City March 31-April 2.

Ameren is seeking permission from the PSC to expand the boundaries of its Labadie Energy Center to allow for the coal ash landfill.

The parties that will take part in the formal PSC hearings will include Ameren, the Sierra Club, LEO, the Office of Public Counsel and the PSC staff. The Office of Public Counsel represents the general public in matters before the commission.

LEO also has a lawsuit pending against the Franklin County Commission in the Eastern District Court of Appeals in St. Louis.

The plaintiffs say the landfill zoning amendment passed by the Franklin County Commission was invalid because it failed to “promote the health, safety, general welfare, and property values of the county . . .”

The appeal also disputes the public hearing process used by the Franklin County Commission when the landfill zoning amendment was approved. The commission did not allow the public to specifically address the proposed Ameren landfill in the public hearings, the plaintiffs say.

But Presiding County Commissioner John Griesheimer has said the county did its due diligence prior to approving the landfill zoning amendment.

Also, residents and LEO have filed an appeal with the county board of zoning adjustment, charging that the proposed landfill liner is not 2 feet above the natural water table as required by the county’s land-use regulations.

That appeal is scheduled to be heard April 22 in the county commission chambers in the Government Center in Union at 6 p.m.