According to nearby air quality monitors, an underground fire at the Moody dump north of Birmingham, Alabama, has been continually contaminating the air for more than 50 days. Despite a recent minor improvement, the air quality index is still greater than what the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers to be acceptable.
The local air quality index at the sensor nearest to the underground fire on Monday morning, according to AL.com, was 178. The EPA defines good air quality as falling between 0 and 50, and moderate or tolerable air quality as falling between 51 and 100.
The 178 reading is in the unhealthy (red) category, which means that some members of the general public may experience health impacts and that members of vulnerable groups may experience more severe health problems.
The values of the air quality index around the fire in December 2022 were frequently greater than 500, which is regarded as hazardous.
Although authorities claim that the fire isn’t expanding, the nearby St. Clair County has issued an emergency declaration.
According to Stan Batemon, chairman of the St. Clair County Commission, it’s not burning more; rather, it’s burning less. Smoke is the problem, and the wind’s direction is also a factor. I don’t receive as many calls if the wind blows back toward Moody because a large portion of that area is covered with trees. I receive numerous calls if it is directed at Carrington Estates in Trussville.
Residents in the area have expressed their displeasure that they can still smell burning, and one of them, Jennifer Moore, told WBRC that she had observed a noticeable difference in the residue on her son’s air purifier filters.
Moore told WBRC that this is terrible because it is putting poisons and chemicals into our lungs. Something must be done because, while it is horrible, I can already picture the infomercial that will air in 15 years telling you whether or not you were harmed by the Moody fires and everything else.
Environmental Dump, Inc., the owner of the landfill where the fire is still burning, as well as other site owners and operators, have been named defendants in a class-action complaint. According to inspection reports from the Alabama Department of Environmental Management, which are cited in the case, the location is a fire hazard. The plaintiffs in the case detailed severe asthma symptoms, a sore throat, and breathing difficulties.
According to plaintiffs’ lawyer Mark Ekonent of AL.com, the smoke and scent have a significant influence on your daily life. You may go to bed smelling smoke and wake up smelling it, depending on the weather and which way the winds are blowing. This may kind of affect your entire day.
Additional claimants who might have been harmed by the fire and bad air quality are being sought by the legal team.
Environmental experts have cautioned against using water to put out fire as this could aggravate air pollution and result in water pollution from runoff. According to Batemon, the fire could take a month or longer to burn out