Seeking to debunk claims that the groundwater around its Labadie power plant is contaminated, Ameren Missouri this week asked a judge to allow it to test the wells of property owners near its facility.
The property owners should welcome this intrusion onto their land.
Concerns over contamination of groundwater — both past and future — are at the heart of the debate over a proposed 400-acre dry waste landfill that Ameren wants to construct adjacent to its power plant. It is the main fear of critics of the landfill.
A group of property owners near the power plant have sued the county in an attempt to block the landfill. They argue that a landfill of this kind shouldn’t be located in a floodplain because of the potential to contaminate groundwater. They have also alleged that since the existing waste ponds have leaked for years, the groundwater around the plant may already be contaminated.
But is it?
In a motion filed this week in the legal battle over the landfill, Ameren alleges that it recently installed groundwater monitoring wells near the plant and that tests showed that the water complies with state and federal requirements.
Now Ameren wants to test the groundwater of the people who are challenging the landfill to invalidate the groundwater contamination allegations.
As we have stated before, requiring testing of groundwater doesn’t alleviate the concerns of those who predict a major ecological disaster if the landfill should flood. But it does address a concern that has often confused the debate over the landfill.
Whether the landfill is allowed to be built or not, public safety requires regular groundwater testing of any facility that could potentially harm the environment.
Ameren’s critics have complained that the utility hasn’t performed any groundwater testing at the Labadie Power plant in the past. It appears Ameren is willing to do so now.
We say let them test and make the process transparent for the property owners and the public.