Link to the West Lake Streaming Video site:

Featured

For People out of town or who can’t make meetings can check out the archive of the Live Streaming events here. PLEASE pass this along to friends, family and neighbors…… West Lake Steaming Video

Community Meeting’s from February 20, 2014 and March 20, 2014 are archived at the streaming video site via the link below.

Individual Links to each video:

Guest Speaker – Robert Alaverz talks to the Community living around West Lake about Thorium 230

West Lake Landfill – Release of the Cold Water Creek Health Survey Maps

and link to the slide presentation used during the meeting.  Thank you to Coldwatercreekfacts.com for sharing this information.

In light of the recently published article about additional rad waste found offsite.

First of all, about a month ago, us Mom’s had gotten wind of possible migrating to Bridgeton Municipal Athletic Association BMAC….we decided it would be in the community’s best interest to test with the money we had available at the time. We had enough funds to get four soil samples. Of those four samples, from what we could tell, nothing came back elevated or a level of concern

 Now however, after learning there has been additional testing occurring, we went to the source to find out what we could. All we know is there were 14 samples taken and 12 of them came back elevated. We have been told, testing took place in various locations such as….Spanish Village, BMAC, the canals along the Pattonville Fire Department Administrations Offices, and Rams Park. We DO NOT know the elevated levels, or which areas came back the hottest. All we know is this: Radioactive Toxic Waste Materials Contamination was found off site!! Somewhere OUTSIDE of the magic fence.

 It was in our original plans to discuss the testing the MOMS did at our next meeting Thursday, but with the release of the latest article, we wanted everyone to know where things stood with the Just Moms Stl. group and our own independent testing. We will be discussing all of this in more detail, as well as our new monitoring equipment in place.

All of our meetings are important, but we feel this is going to be one of the most important meetings we will have to date. Please fill your cars, bring your neighbors, family. Tell everyone about our upcoming meeting. This commUnity has some very critical decisions to be making and we would really like to have input from everyone.

 Please attend the CommUnity Meeting, Thursday, International Operating Engineers hall 3449 Hollenburg, Bridgeton, Mo at 6:30pm. See you there!!!!

April 17, 2014 Community Meeting.2

 

 

Lawsuit: West Lake Landfill radioactivity has spread off-site

April 11, 2014  By Robert Patrick rpatrick@post-dispatch.com 314-621-5154 and Blythe Bernhard bbernhard@post-dispatch.com 314-340-8129

ST. LOUIS • A lawyer for a man who has lived near the West Lake Landfill in Bridgeton for more than 30 years, and the lawsuit that he filed Friday, say for the first time that radiation has spread to nearby properties, potentially impacting the health of local residents and employees.

“We have confirmation of radioactive contamination on multiple scattered sites, some a significant distance from the landfill, which are at levels that require remediation,” wrote lawyer Daniel Finney Jr., who filed the suit, in an email in response to questions from the Post-Dispatch. “Given the history of West Lake Landfill these results are hardly surprising,” he wrote.

Finney declined to comment in detail about the testing that had been done, but said that it had been performed at multiple locations.

“We are confident that the results are the reality of the situation up there,” he said.

The suit was filed on behalf of John James, a resident of the nearby Spanish Village neighborhood, against landfill owner Republic Services and others, and seeks approval for class-action status to represent property owners within three miles of the landfill.

It says that the activities at the landfill were “abnormally dangerous,” both because of their release of radioactive and toxic materials and their proximity to residential neighborhoods.

Area residents and employees of nearby businesses have long complained of the odors from the smoldering waste at the adjacent Bridgeton Sanitary Landfill, and expressed fears of what could happen should the fire spread to West Lake, where waste generated by uranium processing was diluted with soil and used to cover refuse in the 1970s.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is reevaluating its 2008 decision to cap the radioactive waste at West lake rather than remove it, driven by community concerns and the proximity of the underground fire. An underground barrier is also in the works between the two landfills.

In a letter to the Post-Dispatch published in February, Karl Brooks, EPA regional administrator, wrote that, “Scientific evidence shows no one living or working around West Lake is experiencing harmful exposures to its hazardous contaminants, including the radiologically contaminated materials, because the EPA has securely contained them.”

A spokesman for Republic Services, the company that owns West Lake, declined to comment, saying he and the company had not yet seen the suit.

They recently launched a lobbying group that seeks to keep the waste at the landfill rather than having it excavated and shipped by rail to a nuclear dump site in the western U.S.

Although there has been testing on the West Lake site and of the area air and groundwater on multiple occasions, and dust in 2013, no public agency appears to have tested the soils farther away for radioactivity, or at least publicly announced that they were testing.

Ed Smith of the Missouri Coalition for the Environment said they collected soil samples from around the landfill for independent testing. Preliminary results show some of the samples indicate radioactive contamination above acceptable background levels.

Dawn Chapman of Maryland Heights, who leads a community group on landfill issues, said nearby residents are most concerned about the youth ball fields at the Bridgeton Municipal Athletic Complex less than a mile from the landfill.

“I can guarantee you that’s where everybody’s minds are going to go,” Chapman said. “There are going to be a lot of really, really scared people in Bridgeton tonight.”

Robert Patrick covers federal courts and federal law enforcement for the Post-Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter: @rxpatrick.

Why are Lafayette County Republicans interested in West Lake Landfill?

April 10, 2014  By Blythe Bernhard bbernhard@post-dispatch.com 314-340-8129

Republic Services recently launched the Coalition to Keep Us Safe, a lobbying group to promote keeping the nuclear waste buried at West Lake Landfill. The coalition’s hired spokeswoman Molly Teichman is from Warrensburg, one hour southeast of Kansas City. Teichman is a conversative blogger who is connected to the Lafayette County Republicans. State Rep. Glen Kolkmeyer is a Republican from Lafayette County and is an outspoken supporter of the coalition. Teichman and Kolkmeyer are longtime friends of Kay Hoflander, chair of the Lafayette County Republicans, who has distributed press releases for the coalition.

Hoflander’s son, Russ Knocke, is the director of field communications and public affairs for landfill owner Republic Services.

“My mom is a volunteer for a lot of righteous causes,” Knocke said. “Now that she’s become aware of some of the issues, she certainly doesn’t like the idea of waste being transported through the community.”

Hundreds of residents of Bridgeton, Maryland Heights and nearby areas have been pushing for years for the cleanup of West Lake Landfill. An underground fire at the adjacent Bridgeton Landfill has brought increased attention from Missouri’s U.S. senators, local environmental groups and the media. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is reevaluating its 2008 decision to place a rock, clay and soil cap over West Lake because of public opposition and concerns about the fire, which could damage the cap.

Under the EPA’s Superfund site program, Republic Services is at least partly responsible for the cleanup costs at West Lake. One of the options the EPA is considering would involve the excavation and transport of the waste by covered rail to a nuclear storage facility in the western U.S. Nuclear waste from other sites downtown and near the airport has been hauled out of the St. Louis area this way since the 1990s.

The coalition against hauling the West Lake waste claims 30 supporters from across the state who are labeled concerned citizens, veterans or environmentalists. They are listed on the website only by a first name and last initial. The coalition’s spokeswoman Teichman said none of them can be interviewed because it is an emotional topic and they would be subject to ridicule.

Blythe Bernhard covers health and medicine for the Post-Dispatch. Follow her on twitter @blythebernhard

McClellan: Auto repair shop next door to Hades is forced to move

April 9, 2014 By Bill McClellan bmcclellan@post-dispatch.com 314-340-8143 A cap meant to alleviate odors covers Republic Services’ Bridgeton Landfill on Friday, Aug. 30, 2013. Stephanie S. Cordle, scordle@post-dispatch.com

Dan’s Automotive Service is at the end of Boenker Lane.It is where the world ends. Right up against Dan’s place is Hades.

Hades pops up out of the earth and rises like a blister from the soil. A huge hill of waste, a fire simmering underground, radioactive waste somewhere nearby. A heavy-duty tarp has been placed over the hill. Pipes stick out of the tarp. A constant hissing sound is heard as pumps push gas and water out through the pipes. An odor often drifts from the blister.

“It can get rank,” said Dan Rose.

Such is life next to the Bridgeton Landfill.

Not a bad life, actually. Dan’s Automotive Service has been a successful business for years. It has provided a living for Rose, his wife and two full-time mechanics.

But last month, the owners of the landfill gave Rose notice. They need his land for a leachate line, part of a construction project designed to control odors. Rose has to shut his business at the end of this month.

I visited Monday.

The fellow who told me about the auto shop warned me that it would look run-down. It does. Why shouldn’t it? It gets no drive-by traffic. Rose does no advertising. Business comes by word of mouth. Honest, quality work in a bad location. If you don’t mind coming right next to Hades — I mean right next to Hades! — and you don’t expect a fancy waiting room, this could be your repair shop. Rose also does state inspections.

He has worked at this spot since 1970. That’s when Dean’s Automotive Service moved to the site. Rose had been working as a mechanic at Dean’s since graduating from Ritenour High School in 1968. Back in 1970, the landfill was a quarry. A hole in the ground.

He bought the business from Dean in 1984. Dean’s Automotive Service became Dan’s Automotive Service. Rose had a lease.

The years went by. Rose and his wife raised their three children. They employed people. They paid taxes. They did not get rich.

That was fine. Rose had a plan. He’d work until he was 65 or 66, and then he’d sell the business and retire. The sale of the business would provide him with a nest egg, which would be supplemented with Social Security.

Eventually, the quarry became a hill of waste. Then things got messy. In 2010, elevated temperatures were detected in gas extraction wells. Tests revealed a “subsurface smoldering event.” Laypeople call it an underground fire. Technically, it is not a traditional fire, but a chemical reaction that produces high temperatures.

The underground fire, or subsurface smoldering event, was headed toward the radioactive waste in the nearby West Lake Landfill. Last year, the attorney general said the fire was 1,000 feet from that waste.

Estimates were that the smoldering event would reach the radioactive waste in one to three years. Then a “landfill expert” told St. Louis Public Radio that if the chemical reaction consumed enough material to cause a hole underground, the landfill could cave in and the smoldering event could reach the surface as a real fire and spread more quickly.

What I mean is, there was no good news.

Rose figured his time was limited. He was not surprised to get the heave-ho.

It was, as these things go, a gentle heave-ho. He was given a $10,000 termination payment that was not part of any agreement. His lease was the last of several to be terminated.

Still, he is now 64. He will have no business to sell. Unless he can find a place to move — and it will be hard to match the $800 monthly rent he was paying — he will probably have to sell his equipment at auction. Then he will have to look for work himself, or retire a little earlier than he had planned.

Republic Services, the Arizona firm that owns both the Bridgeton Landfill and the West Lake Landfill, is Rose’s landlord and has been since it bought his property in 2008.

Republic spokesman Richard Callow said, “We are sad to see Dan’s have to go. We think we’ve treated them fairly. We really wish it weren’t necessary to do anything. But, we are, as we have said repeatedly, committed to getting the odor from the subsurface smolder under control. And the leachate conveyance line that will be built on the site is an important component of that.”

Callow added that Dan’s Automotive Service used to repair facility vehicles and was a favorite of the local manager.

West Lake Landfill owners start group to lobby to keep nuclear waste in place

April 9, 2014 By Blythe Bernhard bbernhard@post-dispatch.com 314-340-8129

Republic Services, the company that owns the radioactive West Lake Landfill in Bridgeton, has launched a lobbying group that is pushing to keep the waste buried instead of hauling it to a nuclear dump site in the western U.S.

The goal of the Coalition to Keep Us Safe is to raise support among legislators and the public for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 2008 decision to place a rock, clay and soil cap over the West Lake Landfill. The EPA is re-evaluating that plan because of public opposition and concerns about an underground fire at the adjacent Bridgeton Landfill that has smoldered for more than three years. The agency’s most recent research shows the cap would not be adequate to contain toxic fumes if the smoldering reaches West Lake Landfill.

Under the EPA’s Superfund site program, Republic Services is at least partly responsible for the cleanup costs at West Lake. One of the options the EPA is considering would involve the excavation and transport of the waste by covered rail to an out-of-state nuclear storage facility.

The coalition supports the cap “as the safest and most effective option for protecting the communities near the landfill as well as across the state of Missouri.” Supporters listed on the group’s website include Daniel Mehan, president of the Missouri Chamber of Commerce, four Republican state representatives and the Cooper County sheriff. Republic Services is one of the chamber’s top donors.

None of the 22 coalition supporters labeled “concerned citizens” or by their various professions were willing to give their full names or grant interviews, according to a spokeswoman. Concerned citizen “Mary G.” of Maryland Heights is quoted on the website saying, “The EPA needs to act now on the plan to permanently encapsulate the radioactive waste at the West Lake Landfill.”

Republic Services hired Kansas City-based Molly Teichman, a conservative political commentator, to handle public relations for the coalition. Teichman said the coalition’s supporters could lose their jobs if they were quoted in the Post-Dispatch.

“You should also know that those who dare to have a different opinion or weigh in on this issue have been harassed by the people on the other side,” Teichman wrote in an email explaining why none of the unnamed supporters could be interviewed. “A critical issue like this one requires debate. You would hope and think it would be civil.”

The coalition has been calling residents in rural Missouri “to help the public understand the risks associated with excavating and transporting nuclear material across the state,” Teichman said. Some residents believed that the calls were coming from the EPA, leading the federal agency to issue a statement denying any involvement.

State Rep. Bill Otto, D-St. Charles, said the coalition is using scare tactics without fully informing the public.

“It’s an attempt to go outside the metro area to gain support against St. Louis and St. Charles counties,” Otto said.

People who support excavating the waste point out that similar cleanup efforts have been ongoing around St. Louis since the 1990s.

The Army Corps of Engineers, which has been asked to assist with cleanup at West Lake, has handled the transportation of nuclear waste from sites downtown and around the airport.

More than 600,000 cubic yards of contaminated material have been shipped by rail through Missouri.

West Lake has an estimated 150,000 cubic yards of radioactive waste, according to the state health department.

One of the coalition’s supporters, state Rep. Glen Kolkmeyer, said, “I do not want to see (West Lake) dug up and put on rail, which would likely come through my district.” Kolkmeyer, a Republican who represents parts of Jackson, Johnson and Lafayette counties, said he was unaware that radioactive waste already is transported across the state.

Another group, Just Moms StL, supports a quick and safe resolution at West Lake Landfill. The group has hosted regular community meetings since 2012.

“We’re open to people who don’t want this removed, who don’t want the ground opened,” said Dawn Chapman, one of the group’s organizers. “This is their community, too. But we’ve never come across anyone like that.”

Editorial: Concern about the Bridgeton landfills is not enough

By the Editorial Board  April 1, 2014

Link:

Won’t somebody please take responsibility for the landfill with the smoldering event?

The hot-potato game being played by state and federal officials, legal representatives and Republic Services, operator of the Bridgeton and West Lake landfills, isn’t fair to the people who live in the area.

If the game doesn’t stop soon, and critics’ worst-case scenario is realized — that the underground fire in the Bridgeton Landfill reaches the thousands of tons of radioactive waste in the adjacent West Lake Landfill — there could be severe environmental consequences.

Attorney General Chris Koster came out swinging a year ago. He filed a lawsuit against Republic alleging violations of environmental law and said he would “aggressively” track the company’s compliance.

The lawsuit also gave Mr. Koster’s office authority to levy fines of $10,000 a day for each day of each violation if deadlines for reducing odors at the landfills were not met.

A year later finds this aggressiveness gone. Mr. Koster has his bat on his shoulder. He is not imposing the fines, and a spokesman for his office says Republic has “taken some intermediate steps to reduce the intensity of the odors.” This refers to a cap that was put on the Bridgeton Landfill in August. Apparently that’s good enough.

Nearby residents and workers say the cap helped things at first, but the smell got worse over the winter months. A log of complaints about the odor kept by the state Department of Natural Resources shows they have increased since the cap was put in place and as more people in the area learned about the log. The log was obtained by Post-Dispatch reporter Blythe Bernhard.

Federal and state health officials maintain that the odors pose no health risks other than headache, nausea and fatigue. They don’t seem to think those are big enough problems to warrant more aggressive tactics — like fines — to get the odors under control. But then they don’t live near the landfill.

Missouri’s congressional delegation — Sens. Roy Blunt and Claire McCaskill and district Reps. William Lacy Clay and Ann Wagner — have asked for the Army Corps of Engineers to work with the Environmental Protection Agency to handle the waste.

The St. Louis County Council, County Executive Charlie Dooley, nearby DePaul Health Center, the Pattonville School District and the North County Incorporated business development group have asked the corps to handle the cleanup under its Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program.

These are steps in the right direction and a worthy bipartisan effort. But, like the smoldering event itself, they may be generating a lot of heat but no flame. So far the requests have led only to an agreement to have the corps help build an isolation barrier to separate the waste in West Lake from the fire in Bridgeton.

There are other concerns. An EPA study shows “possible relocation of radioactive material,” meaning that it may have found its way to the Bridgeton Landfill, Mr. Koster said in a recent letter to the EPA and Republic Services. He said if radioactive waste is found in the Bridgeton Landfill, the federal government needs to take over the entire project.

State regulators are tracking the underground fire in the Bridgeton Landfill; the EPA oversees West Lake as a Superfund site. The fire has been smoldering for more than three years. In 2008 the EPA’s Region 7 office in Lenexa, Kan., which oversees West Lake, made the decision to leave the waste in place and cover it with a protective cap.

To recap: The EPA, the state Department of Natural Resources, the state attorney general, two U.S. senators, two U.S. representatives and the Corps of Engineers are all involved, plus the private corporation that owns the landfills. Involvement is good. Somebody deciding to take it upon himself to get it fixed would be better.

Karl Brooks, regional administrator for Region 7, said the agency is listening to the residents. As evidence, he offers the fact that the EPA agreed to take a second look at their earlier decision. Mr. Brooks is urging patience.

Threats are good. Action is better. Looking is good. Fixing would be better.

Residents are tired of being patient. Three years of smelling the acrid stench, worrying about the problem, their health and their property values have exhausted their goodwill. They want solutions. They deserve them.

Mr. Koster has the power to start hitting Republic Services in the pocketbook. He should use it.

New EPA Analysis: Community Could Be At Risk If Landfill Fire Reaches Radioactive Waste In Bridgeton

Bridgeton And West Lake Landfills
8:32 PM
MON MARCH 31, 2014

A new analysis by scientists at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency suggests there could be risks to area residents if an underground fire were to reach radioactive waste at the West Lake Landfill.

This radiation warning sign is posted on the perimeter fence of the West Lake Landfill in Bridgeton, Mo.
Credit (Sarah Skiold-Hanlin, St. Louis Public Radio)

An underground fire has been smoldering at the adjacent Bridgeton Landfill for more than three years and is now about 900 to 1,000 feet from the radioactive material.

At the request of EPA Region 7 officials in Kansas City, EPA scientists in Cincinnatireviewed a report prepared by a contractor that was hired by Bridgeton Landfill owner, Republic Services, and the other “potentially responsible parties” (PRPs) at the West Lake Superfund Site.

Their Jan. 14 report, by Engineering Management Support, Inc. (EMSI), evaluated what would happen if the underground fire at Bridgeton were to reach the radioactive material at West Lake or if a new “subsurface smoldering event” (SSE) were to develop in the radioactive area.

The new EPA analysis evaluates the conclusions of that EMSI report. You can read the whole analysis here, but these are some of the key points in our own plain-language interpretations:

LINK – Click Here:  IF THE FIRE COMES INTO CONTACT WITH RADIOACTIVE MATERIAL

Major Players Discuss Bridgeton And West Lake Landfills

St. Louis On The Air
12:00 PM
TUE MARCH 25, 2014

CLICK HERE FOR LINK TO LISTEN TO THE SHOW

There is increasing concern about the status of two landfills in Bridgeton as a slow-moving underground fire in the Bridgeton Landfill edges towards the adjacent West Lake Landfill. Radioactive waste left over from World War II was illegally dumped at West Lake in the 1970s.

Now it’s believed similar material is included in the Bridgeton Landfill and in the path of the fire.  A plan is being considered to build a barrier to prevent the fire from spreading from one landfill to the other. Residents and environmentalists are concerned that the area, and perhaps communities miles away, are threatened by a potential toxic contamination above and below ground.

The underground fire at times emits a strong odor. Residents of the area report that the smell causes headaches, nose bleeds, nausea and asthma attacks.

There are many players in the situation, including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which oversees the radioactive waste at West Lake, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MDNR), which oversees the air and water quality of Bridgeton, and Republic Services, which owns the Bridgeton Landfill and is listed as a “potentially responsible party” of the West Lake Landfill.

St. Louis Public Radio Science Reporter Véronique LaCapra has been covering the story, and joined host Don Marsh in studio to help moderate the discussion. For more background information, see her previous reporting on the topic.

Also joining the conversation was Ed Smith, Safe Energy Director at the Missouri Coalition for the Environment, Russ Knocke, public affairs director at Republic Services, and Dawn Chapman, a resident who lives near the landfills.

 

Odor log shows rise in complaints about smelly Bridgeton Landfill

•  By Blythe Bernhard bbernhard@post-dispatch.com 314-340-8129

A cap meant to alleviate odors covers Republic Services’ Bridgeton Landfill on Friday, Aug. 30, 2013. Stephanie S. Cordle, scordle@post-dispatch.com

Last May, Kathy Bell and her husband took advantage of an offer to stay in a hotel for a few weeks to avoid odors from work being done on the Bridgeton Landfill. The day they got back, she said the stench was worse than before and had seeped inside their house in the Spanish Village neighborhood.

“It was the first time we had ever smelled it inside, and this was after the fix,” Bell said. “It’s totally changed our quality of life.”

An underground fire has been smoldering at the Bridgeton Landfill for more than three years. The fire has stirred up noxious odors as well as concerns about the proximity of radioactive waste dumped at the adjacent West Lake Landfill. A year ago, Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster sued the landfills’ owner, Republic Services, for environmental violations. Under a court injunction, Republic Services agreed to place a plastic cap on part of the landfill by Labor Day 2013 to help lessen the odors and tamp down the fire.

Nearby residents and workers say that after an initial improvement last fall, the smell got progressively worse during the winter. There have been no more offers of free hotel stays. The attorney general’s office has not imposed any fines against Republic Services, although an agreement allows for $10,000 a day if odor deadlines are not met. Residents think their only recourse is an odor complaint log maintained by the state Department of Natural Resources.

Click here for the rest of the story.