No Water Contamination Found From Landfill Fire

Fire burns above- and underground at an environmental landfill in Moody. (Photo by Solomon Crenshaw Jr.)

Testing of water around the environmental landfill fire burning underground in Moody shows no contamination from the fire, the Alabama Department of Environmental Management reported last week.

ADEM conducted instream water quality sampling at four locations, upstream and downstream of the fire in Big Black Creek and the Cahaba River, according to a press release from ADEM.

“Some residents have expressed concern that runoff from the site could be having an adverse effect on the water in nearby streams,” said Jeff Kitchens, chief of ADEM’s Water Division. “We started testing the water to see what effect, if any, the fire was having and to make that information available to the public. Fortunately, what we have seen so far tells us the fire is having little impact on water quality.”

The fire has been burning for about two months and irritating residents as far away as Mountain Brook. Residents have been complaining not just about the smell and the smoke, but about health effects such as asthma, coughing and nausea.

The EPA has taken over fighting the fire, and officials say it could take another three weeks or more of work.

In the meantime, ADEM continues to air and water quality monitoring around the privately owned landfill in St. Clair County. Results from those tests and other updates on the fire can be found online at www.moodyfireupdate.com.