All posts by J C

‘Atomic Homefront’: St. Louis Residents Fire Back at EPA Over Local Nuclear Waste (Exclusive Video), 11/14/2017

The Hollywood Reporter
by Hilary Lewis

The film, which premieres at the Doc NYC festival, follows a group of moms-turned-activists as they confront government agencies and corporations over the illegal dumping of radioactive waste in their neighborhood.

A group of concerned St. Louis residents confront representatives from the Army Corps and EPA over the safety of their neighborhood, in light of nuclear waste being dumped in a nearby landfill, in an exclusive clip from the HBO documentary Atomic Homefront.

Residents urge EPA to excavate Bridgeton landfill, relocate neighbors, 10/20/2017

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
by Bryce Gray

Meagan Beckermann of North County talks about the recent miscarriage of her daughter Faith and her eight-year-old son Trevor who has alopecia, as she speaks at a listening session before representatives of the Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017 at the District 9 Machinists Hall in Bridgeton. EPA senior advisor Albert Kelly announced at the meeting that the agency would be expanding their testing area around the West Lake Landfill. Photo by Robert Cohen,

BRIDGETON • One after another, dozens of north St. Louis County residents issued resounding calls for full excavation of the contents of West Lake Landfill and relocation of nearby residents, as the Environmental Protection Agency approaches a cleanup decision for the Superfund site where radioactive waste has languished for decades.

The long string of speakers shared personal experiences — often recounting health complications suffered by loved ones — and voiced strong opinions at Thursday night’s “community listening session.”

Their pleas for the maximally protective cleanup of the site were made to top-ranking EPA officials who attended the meeting along with more than 100 members of the public.
Read Full Article

EPA plans to conduct further testing for radioactive waste at West Lake Landfill, 10/20/2019

St. Louis Public Radio
by Eli Chen

This radiation warning sign is one of many posted on the chain link fence surrounding part of the West Lake Landfill in Bridgeton, Mo. FILE PHOTO | SARAH SKIOLD-HANLIN | ST. LOUIS PUBLIC RADIO

The Environmental Protection Agency plans to conduct further testing for radioactive contamination at the West Lake Landfill Superfund site in Bridgeton.

Albert Kelly, senior adviser to EPA administrator Scott Pruitt and the head of the agency’s Superfund Task Force, made the announcement at a forum late Thursday, where members of the community voiced concerns about the landfill. Kelly said he expects the sampling to occur within the next 90 days in the western part of the site, a portion that agency officials often refer to as “Operating Unit 2.”

The announcement came as good news to area residents, who have long worried that that contamination has damaged their health.
Read Full Article

A Footnote Worth Noting, 09/05/2017

Stormwater runoff from West Lake Landfill, April 30, 2017. (Photo by Robbin Ellison Dailey)

STL Reporter

Factoring in punctuation marks and MDNR’s double-talk changes the equation of the latest findings at the radioactively-contaminated West Lake Landfill site. 

In many ways, the test results released by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources last month are as unclear as the turbid stormwater the agency collected from the drainage ditches outside the perimeter the West Lake Landfill Superfund Site earlier this year.

Equally perplexing is the press release that accompanies the findings, which concludes that radioactive materials present in the sampling are not even from the West Lake Landfill. Moreover, the analysis is an of interpretation of data that itself is admittedly flawed, according to a footnote that explains two asterisks that appear in the listed test results.
Read More

West Lake Landfill – Additional Details About Site Status, June 2017

EPA in Missouri


Steady progress toward final remedy – EPA is focused on reaching a final remedy decision that is compliant with the law, based on sound science, and considers the state’s position and key concerns in accordance with the National Contingency Plan. EPA will continue to hold the Potentially Responsible Parties (PRPs) accountable for meeting deadlines as the Agency works toward selecting the final proposed remedy. READ MORE

EPA fudged its 2014 test results of the Bridgeton Athletic Complex, 06/07/2017

Stella Maris Productions

The EPA fudged its 2014 test results of the Bridgeton Athletic Complex, assuring the public that the ballfields were safe, while withholding data that warranted further investigation. 

Internal EPA emails show the agency was aware that radiation levels at the Bridgeton Athletic Complex were above background levels, but failed to clearly alert the public of its findings in a timely manner.

The series of internal agency emails obtained by The First Secret City reveal that the EPA knew that multiple radio-isotopes found within inches of the surface at BMAC exceeded 5 pico curies per gram, one of the varying benchmarks set by government regulators to determine so-called permissible levels of exposure.


Missouri delegation to try again to shift cleanup of West Lake to Corps of Engineers, 05/22/2017

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
By Chuck Raasch

Protesters block two entraces at West Lake Landfill
Protesters blocked two entrance to the West Lake Landfill on Friday, March 31, 2017. FUSRAP refers to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program, which residents say is better suited to clean up the site. Photo by Laurie Skrivan,

WASHINGTON • Members of Missouri’s congressional delegation plan to re-introduce legislation Wednesday that would shift cleanup responsibility of the West Lake Landfill from the Environmental Protection Agency to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, even though the Corps has said it doesn’t want it and the new EPA Director has signaled he will try to accelerate action on it.

Editorial: EPA’s findings around West Lake Landfill prompt conflict-of-interest questions, 05/22/2017

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
by The Editorial Board

The Environmental Protection Agency’s announcement Thursday that test results showed no evidence of radioactive contamination in Bridgeton houses near the West Lake Landfill would have been more reassuring if EPA had not chosen a testing company that lists the landfill’s owner as a client. Republic Services owns West Lake and the adjacent Bridgeton Landfill.

Scott Pruitt on cleaning up last administration’s toxic mess, 05/17/2017

Fox and Friends
Guest: Scott Pruitt, EPA Director
May 17, 2017

May. 17, 2017 – 3:11 – On ‘Fox & Friends,’ the EPA administrator speaks out about contaminated sites left behind by Obama administration.

EPA Director, Scott Pruitt, mentions this about West Lake Landfill:  “…these sites across the country have some uranium and lead, posing great risk to the citizens in those areas.  An example, where the EPA didn’t take any steps at all, we have a site just outside of St. Louis called West Lake that’s taken the EPA 27 years just to make a decision — not to clean it up, but just to make a decision on what should be done.  That’s unacceptable.”

In response to Pruitt being asked “what’s your first target?”, he responded with: “We’re very focused on West Lake.  We have a plan in place that we’re going to announce very soon on West Lake.  So it’s very, very important to make those citizens know that we’re going to take steps to clean up and clean up quickly.”

Farm family sues Bridgeton landfill owners over radiation, 05/09/2017

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
by Robert Patrick

Bridgeton West Lake Landfill area
Photo by Bob Srenco

ST. LOUIS COUNTY • Twenty-seven owners of a farm adjacent to the West Lake and Bridgeton landfills sued the landfills’ owners and two landfill workers in St. Louis County Circuit Court Thursday, alleging that radioactive waste has contaminated the farm and family members. Continue reading Farm family sues Bridgeton landfill owners over radiation, 05/09/2017

Concerns, uncertainty continue to shroud West Lake cleanup, 09/04/2016

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
by Bryce Gray

While the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency moves forward with a new study to address radioactive waste at West Lake Landfill, critics say the federal agency is not paying sufficient attention to groundwater as a potential pathway for contamination. They also doubt the EPA has a clear understanding of the extent of contamination, given its failure to conduct a grid survey of the site.

Those concerns, which were voiced at a recent EPA-hosted meeting in Bridgeton, underpin the growing frustration with the agency’s oversight of the matter — and the reason there are continuing calls for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to step in and assume control of the cleanup at the Superfund site in north St. Louis County. Continue reading Concerns, uncertainty continue to shroud West Lake cleanup, 09/04/2016

State wins approval to test groundwater near radioactive waste at West Lake Landfill, 08/25/2016

St. Louis Public Radio
by Eli Chen

A special master has allowed the state to proceed with groundwater testing at wells in the portion of the West Lake Landfill where World War II-era radioactive waste has been detected. The decision Wednesday in a circuit court of St. Louis County comes after landfill owner Republic Services tried to stop the testing from moving forward. The tests were scheduled to begin Aug. 22, but the work was delayed when Republic Services attorney Peter Daniel wrote Assistant Attorney General Thais Folta to inform her the company would not permit the sampling.

Daniel argued that the Missouri Department of Natural Resources has no jurisdiction over the northern portion of the landfill. The Environmental Protection Agency presides over that section of the landfill, labeled as Operating Unit 1, which contains radioactive waste. The state only has jurisdiction over the southern portion, Operating Unit 2, where there is an underground smoldering fire. But the EPA did not object to MDNR’s plans to sample groundwater wells in Operating Unit 1. Daniel also said that the sampling is unnecessary, since the EPA and the U.S. Geological Survey conducted a groundwater evaluation in 2013. “There have been no further orders or requests from the U.S. EPA to sample those wells,” he wrote. In seeking permission to draw samples, Folta sought help from the special master, William Ray Price Jr., former chief judge of the Missouri Supreme Court. “A delay in testing may compromise the scientific value of the samples, not to mention waste resources already committed for sampling next week,” Folta wrote. “And it cannot be overemphasized that this is the only groundwater sampling that is occurring at the Bridgeton or West Lake landfills.” Price determined that the state agency should pay for the test, considering the “significant expense” the state is making to test the wells and the “likely usefulness of this additional data.” Continue reading State wins approval to test groundwater near radioactive waste at West Lake Landfill, 08/25/2016

Champ Landfill might be stinkier than Bridgeton Landfill, 08/19/2016

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
by Blythe Bernard

Something stinks in Bridgeton, but the source isn’t always obvious. Neighbors of the Bridgeton Landfill have complained of a foul stench since an underground fire started there in 2010. The Fred Weber asphalt plant in neighboring Maryland Heights also can give off a distinctive odor.

More recently, the Champ Landfill in the village of Champ has taken blame for the smells. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency cited the landfill between Bridgeton and Maryland Heights last week for its lack of odor control.

The Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District stopped taking raw sludge to the Champ Landfill in May, when the EPA’s inspections turned up odor violations at the landfill.

“When we pay to take product to a landfill, we count on (them) to manage it properly,” said Lance LeComb, a spokesman for the sewer district. “I’m not going to say ours is an odorless business, but others shouldn’t try to foist their problems on us because they’re trying to save money.” Continue reading Champ Landfill might be stinkier than Bridgeton Landfill, 08/19/2016

Residents demand that EPA fully remove radioactive waste from the West Lake Landfill, 08/15/2016

St. Louis Public Radio
by Eli Chen

Residents and local officials continued to press the Environmental Protection Agency for full removal of radioactive waste at the West Lake Landfill Superfund site in Bridgeton at a meeting on Monday night.

Activist group Soul Much Water, who supports Just Moms STL, held a protest outside the Bridgeton Community Center on Monday evening.  CREDIT ELI CHEN

By December, the federal agency must decide between four possible remedies for handling the radioactive contamination. The EPA could take no action, cap the waste in place, partial remove it or completely do so.

At the meeting Monday, agency officials discussed partial or full removal with members of the community. In June, the EPA released a 2013 report conducted by the National Remedy Review Board, in which officials from the agency said that removal of the waste is “feasible.” Continue reading Residents demand that EPA fully remove radioactive waste from the West Lake Landfill, 08/15/2016