Just north of Springfiled, MO lies the Fulbright Landfill Superfund site with a troubling history of contamination and water pollution. The landfill has been a source of toxic chemicals for many years, and its proximity to multiple waterways has led to significant water pollution in Springfield along with severe health risks for nearby workers and residents.

History of the Fulbright Landfill

In 1983, the Fulbright Landfill was added to the National Priorities List (NPL) and designated as a Superfund site due to the discovery of heavy metals in the soil and one of the most dangerous substances in the world—cyanide.

Until a geology student discovered heavy metals in the soil, the landfill accepted dangerous amounts of copper, chromium, and manganese. Further investigation led the EPA to discover substantial amounts of cyanide in the soil as well, opening up the possibility for the spread of cyanide to the nearby waterways that supply water for the city of Springfield.

Today, the land on which the Fulbright Landfill once sat is available for public use with the help of significant measures that have been put in place to prevent further contamination. Despite these efforts, the site remains a source of concern for water pollution in Springfield and the potential health risks that may come with it.

Chemicals Found at the Site

The chemicals found at the Fulbright Landfill are of significant environmental concern due to the harmful chemicals present on the site. Among the most worrisome are cyanide and heavy metals, which are both highly toxic and pose a serious risk to human health.

Cyanide is a deadly chemical that can cause rapid death if ingested or inhaled. It can be found in industrial waste and can also be produced by burning certain materials. Heavy metals, on the other hand, are unfortunately a common find in landfill waste and the health effects associated with them are typically long-lasting and take longer to become noticeable.

The presence of cyanide and heavy metals from the Fulbright Landfill have posed significant threats to the health and safety of the surrounding community. While several actions have been taken to ensure these chemicals do not spread any further, they have already posed serious threats to the public in the past and would continue to do so if the proper regulations are not followed.

Associated Health Risks

One of the primary concerns with regard to the chemicals at the Fulbright Landfill site is the presence of cyanide in soil and its proximity to local waterways. Exposure to high levels of cyanide can lead to various illnesses, cancer, and even death.

Apart from cyanide, heavy metals found in the landfill, including lead, mercury, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) can cause a variety of health problems, including respiratory issues, liver damage, and developmental delays in children.

The site’s proximity to residential neighborhoods is also a significant concern. Residents should be aware of the contaminants buried nearby and, given these health risks, it is crucial that deed restrictions and EPA regulations are closely followed to ensure that these contaminants are never brought to the surface.

Water Pollution in Springfield

Unfortunately, the Fulbright Landfill Superfund site is located near the Sac River, meaning groundwater from the landfill has only a small distance to travel before making its way into larger waterways.

The Sac River flows through several lakes, a few of which are used as a drinking water supply for the city of Springfield.

This pollution is a serious concern for the local residents who depend on the river. In recent years, lawsuits have been filed against the city of Springfield and other responsible parties for allegedly, violating environmental law and polluting the city’s water supply for matters not related to the Fulbright Landfill.

The potential harm to public health from polluted water is a key focus of environmental lawyers, including OnderLaw, familiar with the issue. Groundwater can easily flow into rivers, creating a domino effect that can spread contamination across large areas.

The ongoing work of environmental lawyers is critical in preventing future contamination, enforcing responsible disposal practices, and ensuring that affected communities have the resources they need to recover.

Potential Lawsuits

The pollution caused by the Fulbright Landfill has caused significant harm to the environment and left the community fearful of what effects they may experience as a result of the chemicals found at the site. In some instances, residents may have experienced adverse health effects as a direct result of these chemicals, and legal action may be the first step in seeking justice.

One option for those seeking legal recourse is to pursue a mass tort lawsuit. This type of lawsuit involves multiple plaintiffs with similar claims against a single defendant or group of defendants. In this case, residents affected by the pollution could come together to hold those responsible for the landfill accountable for their damages.

Another potential option would be a class action lawsuit, which also involves multiple plaintiffs with similar claims. However, in a class action, one or more individuals can represent the entire group, making the legal process more efficient and cost-effective for plaintiffs.

Both mass tort and class action lawsuits could be used to seek compensation for damages, including medical bills, property damage, and emotional distress caused by the Fulbright Landfill’s pollution. These lawsuits could also potentially force the responsible parties to clean up the contamination and prevent future harm to the environment and human health.

If you feel you or your community has been impacted by the contaminants at this site, or any Superfund site, click here to speak with one of our environmental lawyers today.