St. Louis County Council urges accelerated cleanup of Coldwater Creek, expanded studies

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Cold Water Creek

Cold Water Creek

In the wake of a state health study showing high rates of cancers in north St. Louis County near Coldwater Creek, the St. Louis County Council unanimously endorsed Tuesday night a resolution calling for an expedited clean-up of the creek and expanded studies of the creek’s effects on public health.

Before the vote, members of the Coldwater Creek Community Group — who gave personal examples of disease in their families as well as the general problems of radioactive nuclear weapons waste — urged the council to endorse the resolution.

Carl Chappell of Florissant said that his father, who had worked at Mallinckrodt, died young of cancer after working with nuclear waste and that his own son was battling appendix cancer.

The company refined uranium for 15 years at a downtown site. Tons of the waste were trucked to a couple of sites near the airport and the headwaters of the creek.

Kay Drey, a long-time environmentalist, told the council that it had “a vital role to play toward saving lives and improving the health and safety of today’s and future St. Louis County residents.”

The council “expresses its strongest support” for “more study of health problems in and around Coldwater Creek, including cancer and the entire range of health problems known to be associated with exposure of ionizing radiation,” the resolution reads.

The resolution, initiated by Councilman Sam Page, a physician, was co-sponsored by the entire seven-member council. Councilman Mike O’Mara said he grew up and lived in that “hotspot” and knew many area incidences of canceramong neighbors and people in his district.

The resolution also requests that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other federal agencies partner with Missouri departments to investigate.

“It’s a momentous day,” Jenell Wright, a leader of the Coldwater Creek Group, said afterward. “It has been an issue for decades and we finally have the council validating our concerns and saying ‘we want it fixed.’”

The group also backs a county health department’s initiative to work with state, federal and academic partners to further evaluate reported cancers and other health issues. Last month, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services released a study finding higher-than-expected rates of leukemia and other cancers near Coldwater Creek.

Margaret Gillerman is a reporter for the Post-Dispatch.

State Says Bridgeton Landfill Owner Must Do More To Contain Fire’s Spread

Bridgeton Landfill
9:45 PM
THU OCTOBER 16, 2014

 

Updated 10/17/14: Republic Services has confirmed that it agreed on Thursday, in writing, to comply with all of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources’ requirements ― although the company remains committed to its position that the additional measures are not needed.

Our original story:

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources says the underground fire at the Bridgeton Landfill is spreading and that the landfill’s owner, Republic Services, needs to do more to stop it.

Republic says all its data ― including subsurface temperatures, carbon monoxide levels and surface settlement ― indicate that the chemical reaction is contained and moving south, away from the radioactive waste at the adjacent West Lake Landfill.

Click here for the rest of the story.

State asks Bridgeton Landfill owners to do more to keep fire from spreading

Bridgeton map DNR
The owners of the Bridgeton Landfill need to step up their efforts to keep an underground fire from reaching nuclear waste at the adjacent West Lake Landfill, according to a letter released Monday by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

The letter dated Oct. 7 follows two contradictory reports on the status of the fire. An expert hired by DNR said in September that the fire in the south quarry of Bridgeton Landfill is moving toward the north quarry, which abuts West Lake. Consultants for Republic Services, owner of both landfills, responded with a report that said the fire is not growing and is not moving toward the radioactive waste.

Chris Nagel, director of the state’s solid waste management program, agrees that the fire is moving northward and has asked Republic Services to expand its plan to monitor temperatures and report the findings weekly. Nagel also called on Republic to come up with a correction plan in the next month to stabilize the temperatures in the neck area. The actions are considered a stop-gap measure because construction on a planned barrier between the two landfills has been delayed and isn’t expected to start for 18 months.

A spokesman for Republic said the state’s proposal is unnecessary because the company is already working to reduce temperatures in the landfill, and that it was unlikely that the underground fire would reach the nuclear waste.

“We read the letter as an expression of impatience about delays on construction of an isolation barrier, which we offered to build more than a year ago,” said Russ Knocke.

Officials with the Environmental Protection Agency, which oversees West Lake through its Superfund toxic sites program, have said plans for the barrier have become more complex and require the help of the Army Corps of Engineers.

The Bridgeton Landfill has been smoldering for more than three years, kicking up noxious odors and concerns about the proximity to World War II-era radioactive materials dumped in the West Lake Landfill in the 1970s.

“Republic Services continues to downplay the real possibility of the smoldering fire surfacing or moving closer to the radioactive wastes,” said Ed Smith of the Missouri Coalition for the Environment. “There needs to be an honest conversation with the public about what happens if the north quarry encounters a smoldering landfill fire sooner than the EPA plans to complete an isolation barrier.”

October 4, 2014 West Lake Landfill Teach In Lois Gibbs CHEJ and Love Canal

Group Photo at Lois Gibbs Teach In October 4th 2014 at the Graphic Arts Center

Thank You, Lois Gibbs for you words of Inspiration and for Caring about our Community. Click Here to View

“Of all the sites that I have visited . . . this is by far the worst.” — Lois Gibbs on West Lake landfill in STL”

Lois Gibbs, founder of the Center for Health and Environmental Justice (CHEJ) and nominated for the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize, came to St. Louis County to address Community about a smoldering fire has been and still is slowly moving toward radioactive wastes which were illegally dumped at the adjacent West Lake Landfill over 40 years ago.

Quote by Lois to CNN:
“West Lake Landfill is this generation’s Love Canal. In Love Canal, we were told that the thousands of tons of toxic chemicals were not causing any of our health problems,” Gibbs said. “Does this sound familiar?

In Love Canal we were told that putting a covering over the top of dump would protect us. Does this sound familiar?

When I see corporations like Republic downplaying risks to residents in order to save themselves some money and some trouble, I see history repeating itself. You and your allies in this room will have to keep organizing and agitating until you and your families have been moved out of harm’s way.”

Sponsoring organizations include Just Mom’s STL, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Franciscan Sisters of Mary, MO State Rep. Bill Otto, and the Missouri Coalition for the Environment.

Lois Gibbs came to St. Louis County, Missouri to help Just Mom’s STL – a Non-Profit Grassroots Organization who have been working over 2 years to bring awareness to the Community and to help them understand what they can do to keep the Communities on both sides of the Missouri River near the West Lake Complex safe from not only the underground Landfill fire with its Toxic non-radioactive fumes, but on what needs to be done to keep that fire from the Nuclear Weapons waste located in an adjacent landfill just 900 feet away.

Come join us on Facebook – West Lake Landfill
Or on YouTube to check out other videos from the event.

For Those wishing to email, mail, Facebook and/or Tweet either Bill & Melinda Gates or EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, please see the information below:

 

 
Bill & Melinda Gates:

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Main Office
500 Fifth Avenue North
Seattle, WA 98109
(206) 709-3100

Email: info@gatesfoundation.org

On Facebook visit:
billmelindagatesfoundation

Follow on Twitter @gatesfoundation

___________________________________________________________
Administrator Gina McCarthy:

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USEPA Headquarters
Administrator Gina McCarthy
William Jefferson Clinton Building
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N. W.
Mail Code: 1101A
Washington, DC 20460

Email: Gina McCarthy/DC/USEPA/US@EPA

Facebook: Administrator Gina McCarthy

Twitter: @GinaEPA

Environmental Activist To Address Bridgeton Landfill Concerns

Click here to listen to the Interview with Lois Gibbs by Veronique LaCapra - St. Louis Public Radio

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St. Louis On The Air
11:20 AM
THU OCTOBER 2, 2014

Environmental activist Lois Gibbs will be in St. Louis this weekend for a “teach-in” to address problems at the adjoining Bridgeton and West Lake landfills, located in Bridgeton a few miles from Lambert Airport.

The West Lake Landfill contains two known areas of World War II-era uranium processing residues, illegally dumped there in 1973. In 2010, an underground fire was reported at the south quarry of the Bridgeton Landfill. Not a fire in the traditional sense, it is a chemical reaction that produces temperatures higher than 170 degrees. At Bridgeton, temperatures have reached 300 degrees.

“If that fire reaches the radioactive waste, the smoke that comes out of that fire will be radioactive and it will increase the risks, which are already extraordinarily high, to the community that lives around there,” Gibbs said. “It’s totally insane. I don’t understand why they let it go for so long, and I don’t understand why they’re not doing something to protect the people today from both the radioactive contaminants as well as the burning fire landfill site.”

Gibbs became involved in environmental causes in the spring of 1978 when she discovered her son was attending a school built on top of a toxic waste dump in Niagara Falls, N.Y. Three years later, she founded the Center for Health, Environment and Justice; Gibbs is now the organization’s executive director.